By Laura Barron-Lopez – 10/20/14 05:02 PM EDT
The Environmental Protection Agency took the first step toward regulating a chemical in the country’s drinking water on Monday.
The EPA issued a preliminary determination to regulate the chemical called strontium, which is a naturally occurring element. At elevated levels strontium can impact bone strength in people who don’t consume enough calcium, the EPA said.
After an initial analysis the agency found that the chemical can have adverse health effects, hindering skeletal development. Strontium can impact people of all ages but is particularly of concern to infants, children and adolescents, the EPA said.
Strontium has been found in roughly 99 percent of the public water systems in the U.S., and is present at elevated levels in 7 percent of water systems, according to the EPA.
The EPA will take public comments before issuing an official proposal to regulate the chemical.