For Immediate Release

Contact: 

EWG Public Affairs, (202) 667-6982 or (202) 441-6214

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

EPA: Rocket Fuel Contaminant Safe for Nation’s Drinking Water

WASHINGTON - The nation's top environmental enforcement agency has decided against regulating perchlorate, a component of solid rocket fuel that has been found in the drinking water of millions of Americans.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), employing the age-old D.C. practice of releasing bad news on a Friday afternoon, announced its decision not to implement federal safety standards for the ubiquitous thyroid toxin, which has been found in the bodies of almost every American tested. It has also been found in breast milk, often at levels that may be unsafe for babies.

"The health and well-being of millions of breast-fed babies are being ignored by EPA so the defense industry and their agents in the Pentagon can avoid cleaning up the mess they've made," said Dr. Anila Jacob, MD, MPH, Senior Scientist at EWG.

Perchlorate interferes with the body's ability to produce thyroid hormones. Inadequate levels of thyroid hormones interfere with normal brain development and growth in babies.

EPA has been under pressure from the Pentagon to overlook the potential health threats posed by perchlorate in order to help defense contractors avoid spending hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up sites contaminated by improper disposal of millions of gallons of perchlorate at rocket test sites, fuel storage facilities and chemical plants.

Perchlorate has leaked from military bases and defense and aerospace contractors' plants in at least 22 states, contaminating drinking water for millions of Americans. The chemical has also been found in breast milk, dairy milk, produce and many other foods and plants.

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