The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to regulate perchlorate under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The chemical has long been used in testing rockets and missiles, and therefore has been notoriously dubbed as the toxic chemical used in rocket fuel.
I love that the media always makes that analogy, ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan quipped after reading the AP article. As though merely tagging this chemical with the term should strike fear into our hearts.
The AP also writes that the presence of perchlorate in drinking water has been found in at least 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental problems, especially in fetuses and babies.
We have studied this subject fairly thoroughly and that statement is false by several orders of magnitude, counters ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. Perchlorate is used in clinical practice to block the re-uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland and has been prescribed in doses of 100 mg three times daily to patients with Grave s disease and other hyperthyroid problems. Do you know how much contaminated water you d have to drink in order to affect thyroid function?
After doing the calculations, Dr. Ross found the answer to be 66 liters of water, daily.
Dr. Ross has also testified in various court hearings in California in conjunction with attempts by activist groups to force the Department of Defense to clean up minuscule levels of perchlorate detected in water supplies; he cited an ACSH peer-reviewed publication countering the attacks on the chemical. If anything, there is less perchlorate now than there was 10 years ago because Army bases and the Energy Department have increased regulation and oversight on its safe disposal.
Clearly, this is not a public health threat, but it has transformed into a matter of public concern thanks to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson s announcement that the EPA is again going after trace levels of perchlorate, and the breathless media coverage which successfully aims to needlessly scare the public about it, adds Dr. Whelan.