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This article was published by The Organic  Consumers Association. You can read  the entire article here.
This is a most read article. Be sure to  follow all the links!

A new analysis of data from  the U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates  that a toxic chemical in rocket fuel has  severely contaminated the nation's food  and water supply (read the Environmental  Working Group study here).

Scientists warn that the chemical, known  as perchlorate, could cause thyroid deficiency  in more than 2.2 million women of childbearing  age.

This thyroid deficiency could damage  the fetus of pregnant women, if left untreated.  Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient  in solid rocket fuel, has leaked from  military bases and defense and aerospace  contractors' plants in at least 22 states,  contaminating drinking water for millions  of Americans.

Despite massive complaints, defense contractors  such as Kerr-McGee have done little or  nothing to clean up the pollution. Perchlorate  has also been widely detected in milk,  lettuce, produce and other foods. In an  alarming study, the CDC found perchlorate  in the urine of every person tested. The  OCA has mobilized thousands of organic  consumers to pressure the EPA and government  officials to begin a massive clean up  of perchlorate for over a year.

Background: The Environmental Working  Groups new report is an anlaysis of data  originally released in 2005, when the  National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released  its long anticipated report on the human  health effects of perchlorates, a byproduct  of rocket fuel. Perchlorates, which are  a common pollutant near military sites,  have recently been found in the water  at concerning levels in 22 states as well  as in 93% of lettuce and milk. 97% of  breast milk samples taken randomly from  around the U.S. have tested positive for  perchlorates.

The government funded NAS report reveals  that perchlorates are roughly ten times  more toxic to humans than the Department  of Defense has been claiming. Perchlorates  can inhibit thyroid function, cause birth  defects and lower IQs, and are considered  particularly dangerous to children.

The NAS report recommends human exposure  at no more than .0007 milligrams per kilogram  of body weight. The EPA has responded  to the report by announcing a new drinking  water standard of 24.5 ppb for perchlorate.  This is bad news for military sites and  rocket fuel plants around the country,  including Henderson, Nevada, where EPA  well monitoring has found perchlorates  at a level 30,000 times higher than that.  There are over 12,000 military sites in  the U.S. that are used for training with  live explosives.

The Pentagon is urging Congress to pass  a new law that would allow the military  to freely violate a host of environmental  regulations. Entitled "The Readiness  and Range Preservation Initiative,"  the legislation would allow military facilities  to ignore laws like the Clean Air Act.  The Pentagon claims environmental regulations  are a threat to national security, since  they restrict the military.

To date, only one Senator has had the  backbone to propose legislation that would  hold the military (and other perchlorate  polluters) responsible for this excessive  pollution of the U.S. food and water supply.

Senator Feinstein (CA) has proposed legislation  that would spend $200 million to identify  and clean up perchlorate sources and provide  grants for technologies to clean up existing  contamination, while holding perchlorate  polluters responsible for cleanup efforts.

"It is imperative that we reduce  the perchlorate in our drinking water  and protect Californians, especially pregnant  women, the unborn, infants, and young  children from this threat to their health,"  said Feinstein of the bill.


Copyright 2006 Organic Consumers Association.  All Rights Reserved.

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