2014 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2014 17:33:37 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] PERCHLORATE: "Natural Perchlorate Levels in a Desert Ecosystem"
News Release
U.S. Geological Survey
April 3, 2014

Natural Perchlorate Levels in a Desert Ecosystem

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Newly published research is the first to characterize the distribution and interactions of natural perchlorate in a terrestrial ecosystem. The study results are important in assessing risks associated with ecological and human health and with potential movement of natural perchlorate contamination into groundwater.

The U.S. Geological Survey and Texas Tech University study quantified natural levels of perchlorate in desert soil, plants, and atmospheric materials, and identified what controls its natural cycling and accumulation. Perchlorate, a chemical found in rocket fuel and fertilizers, is a compound that also occurs naturally. These new findings quantify natural perchlorate background levels and improve understanding of soil-plant-atmosphere processes that will, in turn, aid the identification, interpretation, and treatment of sites contaminated by human uses of perchlorate.

Perchlorate (a molecule with four atoms of oxygen for every chlorine atom: ClO4−) has emerged as an environmental contaminant in drinking water and food. Medical research has shown that its ingestion can disrupt human thyroid function, and the greatest risk may be to fetuses and infants because of the role of thyroid hormones in early growth and brain development. Perchlorate contamination near former military and industrial sites has been well documented, but natural background levels are poorly understood.


For the entire release, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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