New Report On Widespread Rocket Fuel Pollution In Food And Water
February 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 35 states as well as in 93% of
lettuce and milk.
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. Due to pressure on congress from the US military complex, there are currently no federal environmental policies regulating perchlorates.
The new NAS report recommends human exposure at no more than .0007 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. If this were developed into an actual drinking water standard, it would translate into no more than around 20ppb for drinking water. 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. Again, due to lack of federal policy on perchlorates, this excessive pollution is currently legal.
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 US food and water supply.
Feinstein proposes legislation that would spend $200 million to identify and clean up perchlorate sources and provide grants for technologies to clean up existing contamination. She also plans to seek a new federal limit for perchlorate in drinking water and hold 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.
¥ 2002: EPA releases draft report highlighting widespread water contamination of a toxic rocket fuel byproduct known as perchlorate. The report indicates that most of the pollution is coming from US military sites [Source]
¥ January 2003: Courtroom proceedings reveal that aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin was concealing documents for several years indicating the company knew about toxic levels of percholate contamination in the nation's vegetable produce. [Source]
¥ March 2003: California's Senator Feinstein demands the military clean up perchlorate pollution as a matter of public safety. The Department of Defense responds by saying it must be exempt from perchlorate liability, as a matter of anti-terrorist "readiness." [Source].
¥ April 2003: Bush Administration puts gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency, mandating complete silence regarding military perchlorate pollution and human health impacts. [Source]
¥ November 2004: FDA finds perchlorate in 93% of lettuce and milk samples across the nation. Bush Administration requests no regulatory action take place until the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concludes investigation of human health implications. [Source]
¥ January 2005: NAS announces perchlorates are as much as ten times as toxic as what the Department of Defense had been claiming. Senator Feinstein of California announces forthcoming bill proposal to create federal perchlorate regulations and to allocate funding for cleanup of existing contamination.