CDC: Rocket fuel chemical found in baby formula

By | April 3, 2009

CDC: Rocket fuel chemical found in baby formulaSomeone told me about 5 years ago that perchlorate is like a toxic elephant in our water wells that this country is, so far, unwilling to admit exists.

Traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel were found in samples of powdered baby formula, and could exceed what’s considered a safe dose for adults if mixed with water also contaminated with the ingredient, a government study has found.

The study by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked for the chemical, perchlorate, in different brands of powdered baby formula. It was published last month, but the Environmental Working Group issued a press release Thursday drawing attention to it.

The chemical has turned up in several cities’ drinking water supplies. It can occur naturally, but most perchlorate contamination has been tied to defense and aerospace sites.

No tests have ever shown the chemical caused health problems, but scientists have said significant amounts of perchlorate can affect thyroid function. The thyroid helps set the body’s metabolism. Thyroid problems can impact fetal and infant brain development.

However, the extent of the risk is hard to assess. The government requires that formula contain iodine, which counteracts perchlorate’s effects. The size of the infant and how much formula they consume are other factors that can influence risk.

The study itself sheds little light on how dangerous the perchlorate in baby formula is. “This wasn’t a study of health effects,” said Dr. Joshua Schier, one of the authors.

The largest amounts of the chemical were in formulas derived from cow’s milk, the study said.

The researchers would not disclose the brands of formula they studied. Only a few samples were studied, so it’s hard to know if the perchlorate levels would be found in all containers of those brands, a CDC spokesman said.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was considering setting new limits on the amount of perchlorate that would be acceptable in drinking water. A few states have already set their own limits.

The EPA has checked nearly 4,000 public water supplies serving 10,000 people or more. About 160 of the water systems had detectable levels of perchlorate, and 31 had levels high enough to exceed a new safety level the EPA is considering.

via CDC: Rocket fuel chemical found in baby formula.

They know of a dangerous substance in baby formula, but they won’t tell you which brand(s) contained this substance? Perhaps someone should sue the EPA to get them to release that information. A Google search for EPA perchlorate lawsuit is interesting.

Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm based here, announced in an October 3 press release its intentions to sue the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if the federal agency’s final determination regarding the rocket-fuel chemical perchlorate is that no national standard is needed. …

The EPA announced on October 3 that it has preliminarily determined not to regulate the perchlorate in drinking water at a national level because there is not a “meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction” through a national drinking water regulation, as WaterTech Online™ reported. Perchlorate is also an ingredient in the manufacture of fireworks.

According to the Earthjustice release, perchlorate has contaminated drinking water in at least 26 states and, quoting the EPA, perchlorate has contaminated the drinking water of 10 million people in the United States. “EPA’s decision represents a victory for the Department of Defense and military contractors, which for years have pressured EPA not to regulate perchlorate and other chemicals associated with weapons manufacturing,” the group said in the release. – ewg.org

Our drinking water is so horribly polluted by the all powerful defense industry, that there is nothing meaningful we can do to improve it?

Live near a dot?

Perchlorate (ClO4), the dissociated anion of perchlorate salts such as ammonium, potassium, and sodium perchlorate, has been recently recognized as a persistent and pervasive contaminant of drinking water supplies in a number of metropolitan areas. Perchlorate is of concern because of uncertainties in the toxicological database available to address the potential human health effects of low-level exposure. – toxsci

All of the studies I could find in a quick Google Scholar Search showed no danger. No effects in humans were seen. That’s good news, right? But I wonder … what nameless scientists and their unavailable studies leads the EPA to conclude that perchlorate “can impair thyroid function, and affect brain and nerve development in infants.”?

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