Perchlorate has been found in local drinking wells across the country in amounts that could be causing the slow spread of serious disease. Perchlorate is one of a newly recognized group of toxins called endocrine disrupters, which can alter hormonal balances and impede human reproduction and development.
The EPA, citing experiments on rats and epidemiological studies in Arizona and California, says perchlorate is dangerous in drinking water at levels above one part per billion. Most perchlorate plumes in the United States, including the Colorado River, range between four and 100 ppb.
As with other contentious toxins such as arsenic and lead, the more information EPA scientists learned about perchlorate, the more they worried about its effects. Their main concern focuses on changes found in the brain size of laboratory rat pups exposed to low doses of perchlorate in utero. Such changes in so-called brain morphometry indicate perchlorate’s thyroid effects may cause permanent neurological damage in rats as well as people, because the thyroid system works similarly in both species.
To date, the EPA has identified 75 perchlorate releases in 22 states, including Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, New York, Maryland and Massachusetts, as well as California. The Colorado River, the main water source for about 15 million homes across the Southwest, contains perchlorate at roughly seven parts per billion seven times the level that the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment says is safe.
Defense-industry dumping is suspected in nearly all these cases, though perchlorate has also been linked to fireworks and other explosives, automobile airbags and Chilean fertilizers. The EPA says it will take hundreds of years and cost several billion dollars to clean up the plumes.
The EPA study shows “strong evidence” of perchlorate’s danger to infants. That study found California babies born to mothers exposed to trace amounts of perchlorate in drinking water had lower thyroid-hormone levels at birth than did infants of non-exposed moms. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment recently used that study, and other human data, to derive its own “health goal” for perchlorate in drinking water of two ppb.
If you or a loved one suffered side effects from Perchlorate, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified pollutants attorney.
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