ALERT: Pentagon Rocket Fuel in our Drinking Water
January 19, 2005
Dan Jacobson / Environment California
Rocket fuel and drinking water don't mix, and yet hundreds of water sources around the state are contaminated with perchlorate, a major component of military rocket fuel. At even the smallest levels, perchlorate is linked to attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. A new National Academy of Sciences report reveals that perchlorate byproducts have contaminated water, vegetables, and dairy products across the United States.
Rocket Fuel in our Drinking Water
Perchlorate is the major component of rocket fuel and pollutes over 350 drinking water sources across the state, including the Colorado River. At extremely small levels, perchlorate can lead to attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. Despite these health risks for kids, the state of California is moving toward a drinking water standard for perchlorate that is six times weaker than that recommended by US EPA and the state of Massachusetts.
On Monday, January 10, 2005 Environment California Research & Policy Center released a report that urged state regulators to move away from this weak standard. The report, which reviewed the health effects of perchlorate on children's health, recommended that the state set a perchlorate standard at one part per billion (1 ppb) in order to fully protect California's most vulnerable citizens - unborn babies and infants.
Also Monday, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report on the health impacts of perchlorate. Contrary to many media reports, the National Academy of Sciences DID NOT recommend a drinking water standard for perchlorate over 20 ppb. What the Academy proposed was a 'reference dose' to be used by state policy makers as a tool to set a final drinking water standard.
In order for California regulators to convert the Academy recommendation into a drinking water standard, it must factor in the effect of perchlorate on infants and potential exposure to the chemical from food and milk. Once California policy-makers consider these two factors, the National Academy of Sciences report should lead the state toward a much stronger drinking water standard, closer to Environment California's recommendation.
California's children are the future of our society. They need protection from threats to their health and well being in order to have the greatest possible opportunity to grow into their full potential. Environment California Research & Policy Center urges state regulators to seize this opportunity and issue a final drinking water standard for perchlorate that fully protects the health of the most vulnerable Californians - unborn babies and newborn infants.
• Please take a moment to write a letter to the editor asking the Governor to protect children from rocket fuel. Then forward this email to your family and friends asking them to help.
• To help protect California's children from perchlorate, click on the link below or paste it into your web browser:
• To submit a letter to your local paper and get tips on how to write one, click on this link.
Dan Jacobson is the director of Environment California Legislative Director. He may be reached at: DanJ@environmentcalifornia.org
ALERT: Stop Military Rocket Fuel Pollution of US Food and Water
Organic Bytes #48 / Organic Consumers Union
(January 14, 2005) — This week the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released its long awaited report on perchlorates, a byproduct of rocket fuel that has contaminated water, vegetables, and dairy products across the United States.
Perchlorates, recklessly discharged into streams and rivers near military bases and weapons manufacturing facilities, have contaminated drinking water in 35 states, and have been detected in measurable amounts in 93% of lettuce and milk samples as well, including organic products. The government funded NAS study has found 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. Perchlorates are considered particularly dangerous to children. In monitoring wells across the U.S., scientists have found perchlorate levels as high as 30,000 times what the NAS report indicates would be "safe" exposure.
Due to pressure exerted on Congress by military officials and defense contractors, there are currently no federal restrictions or tolerance levels regulating perchlorates. To date, only one Senator, Diane Feinstein from California, has had the backbone to propose legislation that would clean up perchlorate pollution and make the military (and other perchlorate polluters) pay for this clean-up.
ACTION: Please send a quick letter urging Congress to support Senator Feinstein's (CA) bill to create federal perchlorate safety regulations, and to allocate funding for its clean-up. Take action here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/perchlorate.htm
21st Century Timeline of US Rocket Fuel Pollution Scandal
• 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 U.S. military sites.
• 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.
• 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 should be exempt from perchlorate liability, as a matter of anti-terrorist "readiness."
• 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.
• 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 clean-up of existing contamination.
Organic Bytes is a publication of: Organic Consumers Association, 6101 Cliff Estate Road, Little Marais, MN 55614, (218) 226-4164, Fax: (218) 353-7652
Panel Says Perchlorate in Water Less of a Threat
(January 16, 2005) — A panel of scientists Monday concluded that perchlorate, a chemical left over from weapons manufacturing, is safe at levels about 20 times higher than the 1 part per billion that would be allowed under draft federal environmental regulations.
The report could influence whether the federal government and defense contractors are liable for expensive cleanups of drinking water contaminated with perchlorate, which was used in the production of rocket fuel and explosives during the Cold War.
The city of Aberdeen closed four municipal wells in April 2003 after perchlorate escaped into the water supply from the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground, where explosives have been tested for decades. The highest level found in the groundwater at APG has been about 23 parts per billion.
After perchlorate contamination was found in wells near APG, the Maryland Department of the Environment issued a health advisory in 2002 saying that drinking water should have no more than 1 part per billion of perchlorate, the same level proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The latest report generated immediate criticism from environmentalists.