2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 12 Sep 2003 14:33:04 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Test tomato crop free of perchlorate
Test tomato crop free of perchlorate
By Carol Holzgrafe
Thursday, September 11, 2003

SAN MARTIN - The results are in and Bob Cerruti’s tomatoes don’t show
signs of harboring perchlorate, at least above 50 parts per billion.
What the test does show, Cerruti said, is that tomatoes don’t appear to
concentrate the chemical as does lettuce.

“There could very well be some perchlorate in these tomatoes. But at
this current stage of technology, they can’t detect it,” Cerruti said.

The testing technology used by the local lab, Sequoia Analytical, is
only able to find levels at 50 ppb and above. State and federal
regulatory levels, once set, could range between 1 and 6 ppb, making
some agricultural leaders question the usefulness of the backyard

“You don’t know what a crop’s uptake is until you do an analysis,”
Cerruti said. “What I do know is that there is no rapid accumulation of
perchlorate in these tomatoes.”

Cerruti, a San Martin resident, decided to have his homegrown tomatoes
tested because a recent study in Texas showed outer lettuce leaves tend
to concentrate perchlorate up to 60 times the amount of the toxin that
is in the irrigation water, and he wondered if his tomatoes reacted the
same way.

So, Cerruti planted his tomatoes in two sections, watering one part with
well water and the other with bottled water and measuring water and

In recent weeks, experiments like Cerruti’s have been the target of
concern by politicians, farming advocates and some local growers and
residents. They worried that if Cerruti’s test showed that tomatoes
accumulated perchlorate like lettuce, the news could cause a reaction
from buyers of all types of produce that could wipe out Santa Clara
County agriculture.

“The news is encouraging, however I’d be saying the same thing whether
the results were good or bad: the testing methodology is faulty because
labs can’t guarantee more than 50 percent accuracy, so there is still a
lot of work that needs to be done,” said Jenny Midtgaard Derry,
executive director for the Farm Bureau.

Ag officials like Derry are pressing for government funded scientific
experiments on all produce crops. They are inviting all elected county,
state and federal officials to a perchlorate working group meeting later
this month to lobby for more testing and a so-called risk assessment
level so farmers know what level of perchlorate in their food is too
much to be considered safe.

“We have a tight concentration of public will to get this done, we’re
trying to get politicians to buy in and help us,” Derry said.

This article can be viewed at:

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