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VOSI - Environmental Standard V60.1
Research Report 11

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VOSI - Environmental V60.1 Research Report Page

VOSI ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH REPORT RR11-V60.1
FOR
ARSENIC LIMITS IN DRINKING WATER

REFERENCES:

  1. "EPA Rescinds Arsenic Limit for Water"; The Star Ledger (Newark, NJ), Pg. 8 3/21/01.

  2. "Arsenic Ousted", "Victories in the Balance", The Amicus Journal, Spring 2001, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

  3. "State Mandates Testing of Drinking Water Wells", The Star Ledger (Newark, NJ)3/24/01

  4. "Arsenic in Drinking Water", Fact Sheet No. 210, May 2001, World Health Organization (WHO)

  5. "Arsenic Crisis in Bangladesh", Chemical & Engineering News, Nov. 16, l998

  6. "Stevens and Earth Identify Project Team to Aid Bangladesh’s Arsenic Crisis", Steven’s Alumniletter, March 2001, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ

  7. "Arsenic Test Kit", www.hach.com; Hach Co., Loveland, Co (800) 227-4224

  8. "Bush Suffers Blow on Arsenic Standard", The Star Ledger (Newark, NJ) 7/28/01

  9. VOSI V50.4 "Standard for World Health Organization (WHO) Member Nation’s Participation in VOSI "Public Health", "Public Safety" & Environmental Standards Development"

  10. "Senate Pressures Bush on Arsenic" MSNBC 8/2/01

  11. "WHO Member’s Adoption of 10 ppb Arsenic in Drinking Water" e mail 9/21/01 from Hiroki Hashizume Water, Sanitation & Health Programme, World Health Organization (WHO)

  12. "13 Million in U.S. at Increased Cancer Risk Due to Arsenic in Water", Katherine Seelye. Joseph Mercola’s "Web-based Newsletter" http://www.mercola.com/2001/sep/22/arsenic-water.htm

SCOPE:

To determine the maximum parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic in drinking water required to insure people's health and methods of measurement.

BACKGROUND:

Ref. 1 states that the maximum permissible level of arsenic in drinking water was 50 ppb from 1942 until the Clinton administration lowered it to 10 ppb 1/17/01. The new EPA administrator, probably under President Bush’s direction, raised the level to 50 ppb on 3/30/01.

Arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung and skin cancer A 1999 National Academy of Sciences report confirms this statement.

The EPA, in response to a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lawsuit proposed setting the level at 5 ppb but settled on 10 ppb.

Whitman stated she "rescinded the regulation because the arsenic problem needed further study".

Ref. 2 quotes NRDC attorney Eric Orson: "We had to fight for these rules literally down to the last possible minute" "The mining and wood preserver industries are expected to try to overturn them in court and in Congress". No public hearings were held before this undemocratic change was made. Our American DEMOCKERY is alive and well! www.voicesofsafety.com …"About VOSI"…"Famous and Not So Famous Quotations".

Ref. 3 requires that wells be tested before property can be sold. In addition "the law will implement a tougher arsenic standard for well water that was rejected by former NJ governor and EPA administrator Christie Whitman". Drinking water wells in South Jersey "contain unsafe levels of chemicals such as mercury"" Mercury in vaccines has been linked to learning disabilities and autism (VOSI V50.2 Standard for Banning Mercury in Vaccines etc.) Click on "Public Health" to read the standard and research report.

Ref. 4 states that the type of arsenic found naturally in drinking water is inorganic arsenic which is much more harmful that the organic arsenic abundant in seafood.

Arsenic is introduced into water through the dissolution of minerals and ores . In addition arsenic is used in the mining and wood preservative industries which supported the ref. 1 decision.

Long-term exposure to arsenic via drinking-water causes cancer of the skin, lungs, urinary bladder, and kidney, as well as skin pigmentation changes and thickening (hyperkeratosis)".

"Increased risks of lung and bladder cancer and of arsenic associated skin lesions have been observed in drinking water at less than 50 ppb arsenic".

"Accurate measurement of arsenic in drinking-water at levels relevant to health requires laboratory analysis, using sophisticated and expensive techniques as well as trained staff".

The World Health Organization (WHO) established 50-ppb maximum in the 1963 "International Standards for Drinking Water".

The present WHO limit for arsenic in drinking water is 10 ppb because this is "the realistic limit to measurement".

The U.S. is one of the 192 members of WHO. Membership in WHO is meaningless if their health standards are not adhered to by member nations per ref. 9.

Ref. 5 states that Bangladesh has a potential "problem of poisoning 70 million people from arsenic present in water drawn from millions of wells originally installed to solve shortages of drinking water".. "Up to 200,000 people have been diagnosed with arsenicosis in West Bengal". "The Bangladesh arsenic contamination is possibly the largest mass-poisoning case in the world right now".

The six ranges of arsenic in Bangladesh are: 0 –10, 10 – 50, 50 – 150, 150 – 500, 500 – 1000, and 1000- 2000 ppb.

The World Bank is tackling the arsenic problem in Bangladesh as follows: research on the arsenic sources, training villagers in testing their well water and using low cost portable instruments.

The Hach Co., ref. 7, has developed a low cost arsenic test kit that will be evaluated by the World Bank. VOSI research by our "Arsenic Task Group" includes test results with the Hach portable test kits.

Ref. 6 states: "Stevens is collaborating with Earth Identity Project, a leading non-governmental organization in Bangladesh, to establish a technology center that will deploy Steven’s patented technology for removing arsenic from drinking water in Bangladesh" Dr. Xiaoglang Meng , a leading researcher at the Stevens Center for Environmental Engineering, is a member of the VOSI arsenic task group. I received my M.E. and M.S.M.E. degrees from Stevens in 49’ and 53’ respectively and have enjoyed working with my alma mater.

The Stevens Technology for Arsenic Remediation (STAR) is a small-scale system that requires no electricity, costs only a few dollars per year per family, and effectively reduces arsenic in well water to acceptable levels for human consumption (i.e. less than the 10 ppb maximum WHO standard)".

Ref. 7 states that the portable arsenic test kit is "an easy-to-use, low cost method for measuring arsenic levels in drinking water, down to 10 ppb, that minimizes your exposure to arsine gas". The VOSI task group evaluated both the standard 28000-00 kit and the EZ kit which will be used by the World Bank in addressing the arsenic problem in Bangladesh.

Ref. 8 states: "The House (of Representatives) voted 218-189 to halt the Bush Administration’s delay of tougher arsenic standards for drinking water". And "(EPA Administrator) Whitman has not ruled out the 10-ppb or even a tougher standard, but her office has also sought public comment on a 20-ppb level". VOSI will alert Whitman, through the Interagency Committee on Standards Policy (ICSP) representative at the EPA, who is responsible for reviewing and utilizing private sector standards , when the VOSI standard and research report are on-line for their review.

The National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA) requires all levels of government to utilize private sector standards. This law, which is the keystone of VOSI’s efforts to force government to obey their own laws has been a dismal failure. I have been met by arrogance and indifference by all of our so-called "government servants" (that’s a joke son!!!) who are ignoring this law. VOSI has initiated activist’s committees to force government agencies to abide by this law and review and utilize VOSI standards.

The only purpose of any government is to protect the health and safety of its citizens and the environment. This is the goal of VOSI’s revolution: to write "Public Safety", "Public Health" and "Environmental" standards that will force all governments to start doing what they’re supposed to be doing. This will hopefully get rid of the arrogant and powerful special interests that dominate all world governments and force governments to do what’s in the best interests of their citizens and the environment.

The multinational corporations will be both accountable and responsible for the worldwide effect of their products and policies on the health and safety of people and the environment. They will no longer be able to purchase our politicians in order to pass laws that only benefit the profitability of special interest groups and adversely affect the health and safety of people and the environment. This can only happen when our government is forced to abide by the NTTAA.

Ref. 9 requires that all 192 members of the World Health Organization (WHO) abide by the WHO guidelines which include the 10 ppb maximum limit of arsenic in drinking water, This will also prevent multinational corporations from using a safe product domestically and exporting a hazardous version of that product.

Ref. 10 shows a map of the U.S. with three arsenic level classifications: 5 – 10, 10 – 50 and greater than 50 ppb. The maximum levels are in the western states and along the New England coastline. On Aug. 2 the Senate voted 97 to 1 to have the EPA place "strict limits on arsenic in drinking water". Although the Senate neatly avoided specifying a limit ("beating around the Bush") the House voted to require President standard Bush to retain the 10-ppb that President Clinton had set. Probably the most idiotic statement was that of Senator Christopher Bond who stated that the Senate’s "flexible requirement is an appropriate way to deal with arsenic in drinking water". A 1999 report from the National Academy of Sciences called for "stricter standards, as promptly as possible", saying arsenic was a potent human carcinogen linked to lung, bladder and skin cancer".

Ref. 11 states: that the European Union, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Mongolia, Namibia, Syria use 10 ppb as the maximum limit for arsenic in drinking water. It was surprising to me that Laos and Mongolia place more importance on limiting arsenic in drinking water than does the U.S. "What fools these mortals be"..Puck!!!

Ref. 12 states that Bush Administration officials "were reevaluating the levels and would wait for the new report by the American Academy of Sciences (AAS) before determining whether to set the level at 3, 5, 10 or 20 ppb.". The 1999 AAS report found an increased risk of cancer if the level was above 10 ppb.. With 13 million people in the U.S. at increased risk due to arsenic in drinking water, Whitman should move as quickly to reestablish the 10-ppb limit as she did to increase it to 50 ppb.

VOSI ARSENIC TASK GROUP:

The VOSI 10 member As Task Group consisted of four accredited test labs, a Hach Co. representative, (ref. 7), Dr. Meng , Stevens Center for Environmental Engineering, (ref. 6) , Eric Olson of the Natural Resources Defense Fund (ref. 2) and representatives of the World Health Organization, the EPA (Mary Mckiel) and the NJ state Dept. of Environmental Protection (Eileen Murphy). The VOSI Chairman is the coordinator of all VOSI task groups.

Dr. Meng prepared "spiked" arsenic standard solutions of 0.5, 5, 10, 30, 50, 70, and 150 ppb based on the color standards of the ref. 7 28000-00 Hach arsenic test kit.

Dr. Zvi Blank, Director of Complete Analysis Lab, Parsippany, NJ prepared identical 200 ml. Samples from the half gallon containers supplied by Dr. Meng. These samples were tested by Dr. Meng, Mike Leftin, Integrated Analytical Labs, Randolph, NJ, Theodore Gaydos, Accredited Labs, Carteret, NJ and Matt Asbury, Schneider Labs, Richmond, VA. Only the sample number was marked on the bottles. Nitric acid was added as a preservative; no preservative can be used with the Hach portable As test kits.

Either Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) or graphite furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS) test methods were used by the four labs identified as labs 1 thru 4.Only the laboratory receiving this report will be given their lab number. Table 1 lists the sample numbers and the corresponding concentration of As for both the AAS and ICP test methods. In addition the ratio of the actual measurement to the standard value is listed under each test method. Example: 10.3/10 = 1.03

Labs 1, 2 and 3 obtained accuracy within plus 5% (1.05) of the standard samples from 10 to 150 ppb. For both the AAS and ICP test methods. Measurement accuracy decreased significantly below 10 ppb being 92% and 88% of the 5-ppb samples for labs 1 and 4 respectively. The accuracy at 0.5 ppb is unacceptable.

Lab 4 measurements were too high, above 10-ppb. for both test methods indicating that the instrumentation was not adequately calibrated or standardized before testing.

Lab 3 obtained the best accuracy however they failed to test the three samples of 0.5, 5 and 10 ppb.

PORTABLE TEST KIT EVALUATION:

Standard arsenic samples were prepared by Dr. Meng ,without nitric acid preservative , of 5, 10, 30, 50, 70, 150, 1000, 2000, and 4000 ppb and shipped to Hach Co. for testing with both their standard 28000-00 and EZ portable arsenic test kits. Test results were e-mailed to me 8/31/01 and I received the test strips, for colorimetric comparison shortly thereafter. I compared the colored spots with the standard colors on each label on 9/18/01. Tim Kroder, U.S./ Testing evaluated the same samples on 9/21/01. Test Results are shown in Table 2. A single number is shown when the standard sample color matched a label color. When the color did not match, the next lightest and darkest color concentration was listed such as 10/25.

I questioned Dan Kroll why my test results indicated a lower As level (lighter color) than his readings. He explained that the colors lighten with time and that the only valid reading are obtained immediately after testing. Based on this, only Dan Kroll’s values are valid and good correlation was obtained by both test kits to 10-ppb.

CONCLUSIONS:

  1. The Bush Administration and Christine Whitman, EPA Administrator, should not have increased the concentration of arsenic in drinking water from 10 to 50 ppb without a public hearing.

  2. The U.S., a member of the World Health Organization (WHO), should accept the 10 ppb WHO guideline.

  3. VOSI V50.4 "Standard for WHO Member Nation’s Participation in VOSI "Public Health" & "Public Safety" Standards Development" requires that WHO member nations use the WHO guidelines as a minimum health requirement.

  4. Both the ICP and graphite furnace AAS test methods will produce accurate measurements of arsenic in drinking water within plus or minus 5% of the actual value to a minimum of 10 ppb.

  5. Both Hach portable arsenic test kits can measure arsenic accurately to 10 ppb.. The maximum color comparison of arsenic is 500 ppb for the 28000-00 kit and 4000 for the EZ kit.

  6. The Hach EZ kit, or equivalent, should be used to measure the arsenic in the wells in Bangladesh, that have levels to 2000 ppb., and in wells worldwide.

  7. Bangladesh and other countries using wells for drinking water should test their water using a test kit equivalent to the Hach EZ kit and treat it using the STAR technology developed at the Stevens Institute of Technology Center for Environmental Engineering, Hoboken, NJ. The Stevens Technology for Arsenic Remediation (STAR) batch treatment method will reduce arsenic to less than 10 ppb.

  8. Christine Whitman should use the same power she used to raise the arsenic level to restore it back to the 10-ppb established by the Clinton Administration. Mary Mckiel, the ICSP representative to the EPA, and a member of the VOSI Arsenic Task Group, should insist that the EPA abide by the NTTAA and utilize VOSI V60.1 "Standard for Arsenic in Drinking Water".

  9. If countries like Laos and Mongolia are concerned about the health of their citizens over that of special interest groups, such as the mining and wood preservative industries, the U.S. should put the health of its citizens above the special interest groups which seem to control our government’s health , safety and environmental policies.

  10. Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives should insist that all federal agencies use the National Technology Transfer & Advancement Act of 1995 and utilize the best standards available that address the "Public Safety", "Public Health" and "Environmental" issues that have gone unheeded at the request of the special interest groups that establish federal policies.

  11. All governments should have only one purpose: to protect the health and safety of its citizens and to protect the environment worldwide. When this occurs our present DEMOCKERIES will finally become democracies. See www.voicesofsafety.com …."About VOSI". . . "Famous and Not So Famous Quotations".

  12. Based on this report, the National Academy of Sciences should recommend the 10-ppb. maximum limit of arsenic in drinking water .

  13. VOSI has confirmed the accuracy of the Ref. 4 statement that 10-pbb maximum arsenic in drinking water is "the realistic limit to measurement" based on the 95% accuracy at and above this value.

  14. The Ref 4 WHO Fact Sheet statement that "sophisticated equipment is required to measure arsenic in drinking water" should be revised to note that in-expensive portable test kits, based on color comparison, can measure arsenic to 10-ppb.

I wish to thank all VOSI Arsenic Task Group members for their volunteerism that made this significant research report possible at no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. I will present this report to the National Academy of Sciences for their review and approval.

Donald C. Meserlian,P.E.
VOSI Chairman

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Created: 2001-10-05 Last Updated: 2002-04-16