Issue Date: January 28, 2008
Perchlorate In Food Raises Alarm
In the wake of a study showing widespread perchlorate contamination in food, members of Congress and environmental activists are calling for EPA to set a national drinking water limit for the chemical. Perchlorate, used as an oxidizer in rocket fuel, interferes with uptake of iodine by the thyroid and can reduce the production of thyroid hormone. Adequate thyroid hormone is necessary for brain development and normal growth in fetuses, infants, and children. A new FDA study finds that many foods and beverages contain small amounts of perchlorate. These results indicate that the average two-year-old child consumes half of EPA's safe daily dose of perchlorate through food. Many children are exposed to additional perchlorate in their drinking water. The Environmental Working Group says that given the amount of the chemical in foods, the average two-year-old who drinks water containing 4 parts per billion perchlorate or more will exceed EPA's recommended safe daily dose of 0.7 ??g per kg of body weight per day. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.), the chair of the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Environment & Hazardous Materials, says the FDA study demonstrates the need for a national standard to limit perchlorate in drinking water.
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