Monday, March 3, 2003

Rocket Fuel in Drinking Water

New data show widespread nationwide contamination

Drinking water for more than 20 million Americans is contaminated with a toxic legacy of the Cold War: A chemical that interferes with normal thyroid function, may cause cancer and persists indefinitely in the environment, but is currently unregulated by state or federal authorities. Perchlorate, the explosive main ingredient of rocket and missile fuel, contaminates drinking water supplies, groundwater or soil in hundreds of locations in at least 43 states, according to Environmental Working Group’s updated analysis of government data. EWG’s analysis of the latest scientific studies, which show harmful health effects from minute doses, argues that a national standard for perchlorate in drinking water should be no higher than one-tenth the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currrently recommends as safe.