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Web Date: October 14, 2010

Debunking The Detection Limit Myth

Drinking Water: Better analytical methods do not lead to stricter contaminant regulations
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Environmental SCENE, Analytical SCENE
Keywords: vanishing zero effect, drinking water regulations, Safe Drinking Water Act

Critics of environmental regulations often argue that as analytical methods become more precise, policymakers push for tougher regulations, because scientists can detect smaller and smaller contaminant concentrations. But a new report concludes that this criticism, known as the "vanishing zero effect," is a myth—at least when it comes to U.S. drinking water regulations. Instead, the authors find that a better understanding of a chemical's toxicology appears to be the primary driver of changes in regulatory . . .

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