Changing water quality standards by saying people weigh more

Another great post by Catherine O’Neil at the Progressive Reform blog:

The latest tactic – advanced by an industry consultant – and currently embraced by Washington’s Department of Ecology as its “preferred approach” – is to alter the standard assumption for adult bodyweight, increasing it from 70 kg to 80 kg. This change to Ecology’s (and EPA’s) longstanding practice was suggested on the theory that tribal people, on average, currently have a higher bodyweight, i.e., 79 kg or 81 kg, according to two recent surveys in the Pacific Northwest. The “average American,” too, it was suggested, is currently heavier than in prior years. The difference in the resulting water quality standards as a consequence of this change? The standards would be roughly 10% – 15% less protective.

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