Arsenic a “hot button” for Senator Clinton

Published October 1, 2001

Senator Hillary Clinton on July 19 lashed out at the Bush administration for failing to quickly reduce arsenic levels in drinking water.

“I can’t mention the word arsenic without also saying how troubled I and so many others were about the Bush administration’s delay in implementing tougher standards,” stated the senator, referring to the standards former President Bill Clinton proposed on the evening of his final day in office.

Addressing the delay that President Clinton himself exercised in proposing the controversial new standard, Senator Clinton acknowledged, “I know one of the reasons, and it was a legitimate reason, is that it would be expensive for many of the communities facing this challenge to do on their own.”

In conjunction with her criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the arsenic issue, Senator Clinton additionally proposed an eight-point national agenda to combat “hidden health hazards” such as arsenic, chemicals used in wood treatment, and other environmental chemicals.

Senator Clinton further proposed placing federal environmental health officers in every state’s public health department, with the twin goals of keeping tabs on the states’ environmental compliance efforts and assisting environmental activist groups at the grassroots level.