Perchlorate ~ Why Not?

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Perchlorate and the Post-Organic Era
Perchlorate and the Post-Organic Era

Monday, March 4th 2013 | By Sayer Ji, Founder 

[Excerpt] Perchlorate is an environmental pollutant primarily associated with releases by defense contractors, military operations and aerospace programs, as it is a key ingredient in rocket fuel. It is now found in virtually all humans tested, and it is continually making its way up the food chain through ground and drinking water, into feed and edible plants, animals products, milk and breast milk - contaminating conventional and organically grown food, alike.

Perchlorate in Drinking Water – Rocket Fuel Contaminating Food and Water

Natural Society
water dripping

There’s nothing quite like an ice-cold glass of rocket fuel on a summer afternoon. Perchlorate, a key ingredient in rocket fuel, can be found in almost everybody in America. Perchlorate in drinking water has been an issue for quite some time, and has been contaminates our ground and drinking water and everything quenched by it—people, lettuce, cows. 

July 13, 2012 | by Lisa Garber

This environmental pollutant and toxin is even changing the meaning of “organic.” The Journal of Environmental Science and Technology says that perchlorate contaminates 32 percent of organically grown produce—twice the number attributed to conventional produce!

That an ingredient used by the pyrotechnics industry ends up in your refreshing beverage (and your burger, and your salad) is no accident. Exxon Valdez was an accident. Perchlorate in our bodies is a result of negligence.

In most cases, perchlorate in drinking water occurs due to improper disposal at military bases, chemical plants, and rocket testing sites. Concerned citizens and representatives have rallied and pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the toxin, but it took them almost 10 years to announce its first federal drinking water standard for perchlorate. One might guess that the EPA dragged its feet due to pressures from big businesses and the military, reluctant to spend more money on public health and being held fiscally responsible for damages to organic farmers and the population in general. 

A Cause of Hypothyroidism

Why should we worry about perchlorate in drinking water and subsequently, our bodies?  Aside from the sheer insult of paying extra money for organic produce only to get a little extra rocket fuel in our suppers, perchlorate has been linked to hypothyroidism.

Perchlorate impedes iodide uptake, which is why doctors in the 1950s used it to treat hyperthyroidism.  (While hyperthyroidism is gets its name from an overactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is the condition of the thyroid gland making insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones.)  It may not be a coincidence that diagnoses of this condition is on the rise in our military-industrial nation.

Research your region’s perchlorate contamination to stay in the know.  If you regularly drink from well water, consider testing it for perchlorate contamination.

Perchlorate in Drinking Water Raises Health Concerns

Perchlorate in Drinking Water Raises Health Concerns


December 21, 2012 | EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E - The Environmental Magazine ( 

[Excerpt] Besides its potential to cause endocrine system and reproductive problems, perchlorate is considered a “likely human carcinogen” by the EPA

Dear EarthTalk: What is “perchlorate” in our drinking water supply, and why is it controversial?—David Sparrow, Chico, Calif.

Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical used in the production of rocket fuel, missiles, fireworks, flares and explosives. It is also sometimes present in bleach and in some fertilizers. Its widespread release into the environment is primarily associated with defense contracting, military operations and aerospace programs.

Is That Rocket Fuel Contaminating Your Water?

The EPA mulls whether to regulate levels of perchlorate in water
Scientific American
Is that rocket fuel?


August 6, 2009 | By Sara Goodman

[Excerpt] Perchlorate seems to be everywhere these days. It is in a lot of water supplies, in fruits and vegetables, in Chile's Atacama Desert, and even on Mars.

That is good and bad news for the Defense Department and military contractors battling accusations that they have polluted groundwater with perchlorate, a primary component of rocket fuel.

The fact that perchlorate -- a salt comprising a chlorine atom and four oxygen atoms -- occurs naturally makes it difficult to draw simple conclusions about whether to regulate it or remove it from the drinking-water supplies of at least 35 states and the District of Columbia.

On the other hand, that perchlorate is more widespread than previously thought suggests to proponents of federal water regulations that there is all the more need to regulate its presence in drinking water.

The debate over perchlorate now moves to U.S. EPA, which requested public comments this week on possible regulation of perchlorate in drinking water. EPA is asking whether there are alternative ways to evaluate if perchlorate occurs at a frequency and at levels to cause health concerns and whether a national drinking-water regulation would lead to a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction."

Children Overexposed To Rocket Fuel Chemical

EPA Caves to Defense Industry Lobbyists: House Committee Taking Action to Protect Children

Every existing safety standard for perchlorate in tap water still exposes hundreds of thousands of young children to unsafe doses

perchlorate level in tap water
maximum perchlorate in public water

Source: EWG analysis of May 2007 FDA food tests (FDA 2007) combined with children's food consumption patterns detailed in CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES 1999-2004). Estimated exposures are compared against EPA's "safe" dose, the Reference Dose or RfD, of 0.7 micrograms of perchlorate per kilogram of body weight per day. States with one or more community tap water supplies polluted above the levels shown above are taken from a 2005 GAO report (GAO 2005).

Thursday, October 25, 2007 | By Environmental Working Group

[Excerpt] As a House committee prepares to vote on a bill requiring the EPA to set a safety standard to protect children from the rocket fuel contaminant perchlorate in tap water, a new analysis by Environmental Working Group finds that 250,000 one-year-olds are exposed to perchlorate above the government’s safe dose, from food sources alone. This is the equivalent of 1 in every 16 one-year-olds in the country. In the 28 states where perchlorate contaminates tap water, children face even higher exposures and potential health harm.

The Congress is considering action in large part because the Bush EPA, bending to defense industry pressure, decided in April, 2007, to indefinitely delay development of tap water standards for perchlorate, leaving hundreds of thousands of children unprotected.

Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient in solid rocket fuel, can alter thyroid hormone levels critical to a child's healthy development. A landmark 2006 study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found significant effects at perchlorate levels five times lower than EPA's current "safe" dose (Blount et al. 2006b).

Perchlorate can occur naturally in the environment, but a portion of this contamination in milk, produce, and fruit juice comes from farm irrigation water polluted by massive rocket fuel contamination of the Colorado River from a defense industry contractor site near Las Vegas.

Rocket fuel contaminates not only common foods eaten by toddlers, but also tap water across the country. Government-mandated tests revealed rocket fuel contamination of tap water in 28 states nationwide as of January, 2005 (GAO 2005). Despite widespread pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has repeatedly declined to set a safety standard for rocket fuel in tap water, yielding to pressure from the defense industry.

FDA food tests published last spring have allowed EWG to conduct a first-ever analysis of children's exposures to perchlorate from both food and tap water (FDA 2007). Our findings highlight the urgent need for the EPA to establish a health-protective perchlorate standard for all communities with contaminated tap water.

Dirty Water 
Polluters attempt to derail state’s new standards for rocket fuel oxidizer in drinking water 

“Perchlorate disrupts how the thyroid functions,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Impairment of the thyroid function in expectant mothers may impact the fetus and newborn and result in effects including changes in behavior, delayed development, and decreased learning capability.” 

By Michael Collins Los Angeles CityBeat/ValleyBeat | February 12, 2004 

Dirty water cleaned at Jet Propulsion LaboratoryPasadena has the dubious distinction of being the birthplace of the chemical perchlorate’s use as a rocket fuel oxidizer. Conceived at the NASA-owned Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a single rocket booster for the Space Shuttle contains over 1.3 million pounds of propellant, of which 70 percent is ammonium perchlorate. Potassium perchlorate is also a primary ingredient of safety flares, matches, munitions, explosives, fireworks and airbag detonators. But while perchlorate has propelled America towards the heavens and is a must for 4th of July festivities, it has polluted groundwater and threatens human health throughout the state and nation.

Over 330 drinking water sources in California have registered concentrations of perchlorate at or above the state’s provisional action-reporting level of four parts per billion (ppb). Wells registering 18 ppb or above are taken out of service for human consumption. Pasadena has shut down nine drinking water wells due to perchlorate contamination emanating from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The 176-acre lab is in the midst of a $114 million EPA-mandated Superfund cleanup being carried out by the space agency.

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