"State Setting Health Standards for Emerging Contaminants"

"ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Department of Health is taking a closer look at a variety of chemicals that make their way into the water supply. Federal and state regulators have already placed limits on many contaminants found in drinking water, among them lead and mercury. But health officials are turning their attention to other chemicals that are not widely known, including those in fragrances, prescription drugs and bug spray."

"Scientists know that many of them are a problem, but determining when they become a public health threat is the next step, said Deb Swackhamer, an environmental chemist at the University of Minnesota.

'We don't have the actual detailed toxicological data that says this compound at this dose causes this problem so we're going to regulate it at that dose,' said Swackhamer, chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board. 'That kind of data takes an enormous amount of effort; it takes millions of dollars to collect.'

Health department scientists aren't doing any of their own testing. Instead, using $1.7 million dollars from the state's Legacy Amendment, they're poring over all the data they can find. Based on existing studies, they'll decide what amount of various contaminants presents too much risk to be in Minnesotans' drinking water."

Elizabeth Dunbar reports for Minnesota Public Radio March 28, 2012.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio, 03/29/2012