2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 12 Aug 2005 17:39:53 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Perchlorate not to be listed under California's "Prop 65":
California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
Press Release
August 11, 2005

Scientific Panel Decides Against Adding Perchlorate to Proposition 65
List of Toxic Chemicals
Release No. 05-04

SACRAMENTO - An independent scientific panel today decided against
adding perchlorate to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to the
State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. 

The state's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant (DART)
Identification Committee, a panel of independent scientists administered
by the California Environmental Protection Agency's Office of
Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), concluded that available
scientific information on perchlorate was not sufficient for placing the
substance on the Proposition 65 list. 

Perchlorate is primarily produced for use in rocket fuel, explosives,
fireworks, road flares and air-bag inflation systems. The chemical has
been found in a number of California drinking water sources. Studies
have also detected perchlorate in samples of lettuce and other leafy
vegetables, and samples of dairy milk and human breast milk. 

The DART Identification Committee's evaluation of perchlorate was
performed in accordance with Proposition 65, which California voters
approved in 1986. The statute requires the state to publish and
periodically update a list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer,
birth defects or other reproductive harm. Businesses that knowingly
cause exposures to listed chemicals must provide warnings. Proposition
65 warnings are common throughout California. The statute also bans the
discharge of significant amounts of listed substances into drinking
water sources. OEHHA is the lead agency for implementation of
Proposition 65. 

Even though evidence of a substance's adverse health effects may be
considerable, Proposition 65 says the committee can list a substance
only if it determines the substance has been ?clearly shown? to cause
reproductive toxicity. A decision that a substance falls short of the
?clearly shown? standard does not mean that the committee believes the
substance to be non-toxic. Substances that are not listed under
Proposition 65 may still be subject to regulation under other state
environmental programs. 

The committee consists of scientists with expertise in disciplines such
as toxicology, epidemiology and medicine. Committee members are
appointed by the Governor. 

The DART committee decided in 2002 to consider the listing of
perchlorate following formal requests by several environmental groups.
OEHHA provided the committee with its 2004 assessment of perchlorate as
a drinking water contaminant, which contains an extensive compilation of
the scientific literature on perchlorate's health effects. OEHHA also
provided the committee with the comprehensive January 2005 review of
perchlorate published by the National Academy of Sciences, and several
original studies of perchlorate. OEHHA does not make recommendations or
take positions on the listing of chemicals under consideration by the

When ingested at significant levels, perchlorate can disrupt the proper
functioning of the thyroid gland (a butterfly-shaped gland in the
throat), which regulates the body's metabolism and physical growth.
Certain populations, such as pregnant women and their fetuses, may be
particularly susceptible to adverse health effects when thyroid
disruption persists. There is evidence that impairment of thyroid
function in pregnant women may result in delayed development and
decreased learning capability of the fetus. 

The committee's decision will have no effect on the state's regulation
of perchlorate under the California Safe Drinking Water Act. Like many
environmental laws, the drinking water act recognizes the need to
regulate contaminants based on highly suggestive evidence of their
health effects. The act requires OEHHA to set public health goals (PHGs)
for perchlorate and other contaminants at a level that is ?not
anticipated? to cause adverse health effects, based on an assessment of
available information. OEHHA's PHG for perchlorate, published in its
2004 assessment of the substance, is currently guiding the development
of a state perchlorate drinking water standard by the Department of
Health Services. California's water-quality regulators will continue to
require cleanups of perchlorate contamination where needed. 

For the original press release, go to


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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