EPA DECISION ON ARSENIC DRAWS CRITICISM FROM EXPERTS
Affordable Household Technology the Answer to EPA's Arsenic Woes
ATLANTA - March 22, 2001 - The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision Tuesday to withdraw a proposed standard that significantly reduces allowable arsenic levels in U.S. drinking water is based in part, on grossly overestimated costs, according to Apyron Technologies, a developer of advanced material science technologies.
Americans whose drinking water contains arsenic, a known carcinogen, can ensure their safety with systems that treat water at the faucet, or at the point where it enters their home, business or other organization. The Water Quality Association (WQA) recommends this approach for its effectiveness in reducing arsenic levels at low cost.
"At a cost of four cents per day per person, our technology is treating drinking water in other countries where arsenic levels are 100 times higher than those in the United States," said Rom Papadopoulos, chief executive officer of Apyron Technologies, Inc. "We are applying a similar technology in the United States at an average of $150 annually for a family of four. At this low cost of treatment, it is hard to understand why EPA would view any level of arsenic as acceptable."
"The debate concerning the cost to remove arsenic from our drinking water is ill-founded," said Joseph Harrison, P.E., WQA Technical Director and a former regional director for the EPA's Office of Drinking Water and Groundwater. "No one should have to fear arsenic contamination because the cost of treatment is too expensive." Certain home water treatment technologies, like Apyron's, are effective, efficient and cost approximately 80 percent less than the amount being claimed by organizations including the American Water Works Association.
Products available to consumers include Apyron's Aqua-Bind™ product series, which was designed to specifically meet the fast-acting performance demands required of point-of-use (faucet application) and point-of-entry (where water enters a home) devices. This product has been demonstrated internationally as the most effective technology available. Consumers can purchase these units directly from Apyron or through local dealers.
Apyron's arsenic-removal technologies are in use in more than 30 states across the United States as well as India and Bangladesh, where arsenicosis - the disease caused by consumption of excess arsenic - has reached epidemic proportions.
The EPA, after years of studying the problem, set the recommended standard for arsenic in U.S. drinking water at 10 ppb, the World Health Organization's recommended standard. The previous standard, which is now being reinstated at least temporarily, was 50 ppb.
Based on data provided by the EPA, the National Resources Defense Council estimates that as many as 56 million people in the United States are drinking water with arsenic at unsafe levels. According to the National Academy of Sciences, one of 100 individuals who regularly drinks water that contains 50 ppb of arsenic could be expected to get cancer. This risk is roughly equivalent to that of dying in an automobile accident or by homicide. Studies have indicated that children are at a much greater risk than adults.
In addition to cancer, recent studies also indicate that long-term exposure to arsenic can result in an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and hormone functions regulating a wide range of biological processes. Scientists also have found that arsenic can pass through the placenta, potentially presenting reproductive or developmental risks in humans.
"It is astounding that the United States is so far behind the rest of the world on this health issue," said Papadopoulos, a graduate of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki School of Medicine. "I've seen first-hand what this contaminant can do to a human being, and it saddens me to know that our government refuses to do what is in the best interest of its citizens. I view the EPA's decision as detrimental news for the health of many Americans."
Other countries with high levels of arsenic in drinking water include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, China, Germany, India, Inter-Mongolia, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
Apyron develops and markets advanced material science technology solutions that improve the quality of life. Applications for Apyron's proprietary technologies include air and water purification, transportation, energy, pharmaceuticals, health care, food, beverages and agriculture. Founded in 1994, the Atlanta-based private company has more than 40 employees, including internationally respected chemists and scientists, and projects in multiple countries.
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