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Excuse Me EPA, There's Rocket Fuel in My Water

Excuse Me EPA, There's Rocket Fuel in My Water

Water is a basic necessity to all life, and the havoc we wreak on this planet eventually shows up in our water. The latest culprit is rocket fuel, or perchlorate, which is also used in fertilizer, fireworks and road flares. (What rocket fuel has to do with growing food is a mystery to me as well.)

Dangerous levels of perchlorate have been found in 395 public water sites, in 35 different states. According to some scientists, the levels of this toxic substance are high enough to interfere with thyroid function and can cause developmental health risks for babies and fetuses. Unfortunately, the EPA just concluded that there is no need to purge this particular contaminate from public drinking water. The draft document from the agency stated that mandating a clean-up level for the rocket fuel would not make a meaningful difference in reducing the risks posed by the chemical.

The EPA is essentially walking away from the issue, stating that the Pentagon did not pressure them, but that their findings are based on science. The Pentagon was a major contributor to the problem having used perchlorate in their aerospace and missile programs. The EPA does recognize that there are risks associated with the chemical and will work with states to reduce them. In fact, California and Massachusetts have already created laws regulating the amount of perchlorate allowed in public drinking water.

I must say this freaks me out a bit, and the fact that perchlorate has been found in lettuce fuels my fear (pun intended) even more. How do you feel about it? Tell me in the comments section below.


Join The Conversation
DeviousMuse DeviousMuse 8 years
I was actually living in Las Vegas in 1988 when the PEPCON plant exploded ( - it was an ammonium-perchlorate producing facility for the space program. The chemicals in the air seeped into the ground, and I remember pulling up our mini garden many months later and the toxins had bleached all of our veggies a pale grayish-white. I wouldn't be surprised if the Southern Nevada area was one of the places where elevated levels of perchlorate were found in the groundwater.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
Yikes! Not okay.
Noodles-and-Waffles Noodles-and-Waffles 8 years
Almost every chemical has a Screening Level (SL) or Preliminary Remediation Goal (PRG) for residential and industrial soil, ambient air, and tap water. Perchlorate has an established SL and PRG value which if exceeded remediation (i.e., cleanup) is legally required. These values are utilized every day by industries, consultants and the EPA to quantify the risk to human and ecological receptors. If you have issues with perchlorate, you should have issues with chemicals in every aspect of your life. EPA Region 9 (i.e., CA) PRG values:
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 8 years
I'm an environmental engineer and my job is to clean up sites like this. Mostly what we do is monitor if there are bacteria that can consume the chemical. Then we find if there's enough bacteria and enough nutrients to keep the bacteria going strong. If not, we might inject bacteria or nutrients or purge/excavate. Perhaps they found that nature is handling it correctly? I need to read up on this issue but I just wanted to let you know the process of it all. If this was a private corporation's leak, this would make headlines. That's politics for you!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
this has to make you wonder - if you know that there's a widespread issue and you know that there's a high risk of illness etc..then why walk away? cause it's too vast or expensive to deal with? it makes you wonder about our safety on a lot of things. for myself - we usually drink filtered water but we cook with tap water and i don't know if that's even a good thing. i guess we'll just be scared about our water since it doesn't seem like anything's going to change.
EmPaige EmPaige 8 years
yikes! i have been wanting to install a good under-sink water filter for awhile now but am having a hard time figuring out which one to get. any suggestions, Fit?
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