by Duane Craig
The recent USA Today article reporting on the toxic chemicals found in pregnant women makes it clear that perchlorate environmental contamination is quite widespread. Of the total population in the study, everyone had detectable levels of perchlorate in their systems. Perchlorate affects the uptake of iodide and so it interferes with growth and brain development especially of fetuses and children.
So how does perchlorate get so extensively spread across the environment? Since it is highly soluble in water and does not bind to soil, its distribution in the environment is just as fluid as water. There is evidence that sodium hypochlorite, used as a disinfectant in many municipal water and wastewater systems, creates a small amount of perchlorate when it breaks down into its elements. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) found .20 to .28 ppb of perchlorate in treated water, even though the water entered the treatment plants below the .20 detection limit.
Plants and animals uptake perchlorate in the water they consume and so food appears to be the major entry to the human population. An article in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiologyreports on a bio-monitoring survey that found food accounted for 86 percent of the perchlorate contamination in humans compared to just 14 percent from water.
Another potential culprit, household bleach as it gets older increases its concentration of perchlorate. Samples from store shelves had concentrations of 390 ppb and a sample taken from a bottle of chlorine that was two years old had 8,000 ppb of the material.