Toxic Rocket Fuel Now
Found In Most Americans
White House Delays Release of Study Showing
Toxic Rocket Fuel in Most Americans

Environmental Working Group
WASHINGTON - Following a published report that the Bush  Administration is holding up a study that shows most Americans carry a  toxic rocket fuel chemical in their bodies at levels close to federal  safety limits, Environmental Working Group (EWG) is calling for the  immediate release of the study so EPA and state agencies can take steps  to protect the public.
Risk Policy Report, an independent newsletter, reported Feb. 28 that  the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy is pressuring the  Centers for Disease Control to delay the release of a study that tested  for perchlorate in human blood samples from the National Health and  Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). An EPA source told the  newsletter that CDC has found levels of perchlorate that "leave no  margin of safety" for the public, compared to EPA's current risk limit.
Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient in solid rocket fuel, has  contaminated drinking water and soil in at least 35 states, with most  of the known contamination coming from military bases and defense  contractors. Tests by EWG, academic scientists in Texas and Arizona,  state officials in California and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  have found perchlorate in milk, produce and many other foods and animal  feed crops from coast to coast. Perchlorate is a thyroid toxin, and  animal tests show that even small amounts can disrupt normal growth and  development in fetuses, infants and children.
The NHANES study is a followup to a CDC study last year that found  perchlorate in the urine of every one of 61 Atlanta residents tested,  even though concentrations of perchlorate in the cityÕs drinking water  are very low. Last year, scientists at Texas Tech University also found  perchlorate in every sample of human milk from 36 mothers.
In a letter to Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC, EWG Senior  Vice President Richard Wiles said the results of the study of Atlanta  residents "indicate that food is likely a major source of perchlorate  exposure, and that perchlorate exposure is likely to be widespread in  the general population."
Although the EPA has no timetable for developing a national drinking  water standard for perchlorate, both Massachusetts and California are  moving forward with their own safety standards. The proposed standards  - 1 part per billion in Massachusetts and 6 ppb in California - are far  below EPA's recently adopted risk limit of 24.5 ppb, which is a level  used as a guidance for cleaning up perchlorate- contaminated sites.  When the EPA announced the risk limit, it acknowledged the need for  "national guidance on relative source contribution" - exactly the  information the NHANES data could provide.
"In the absence of national safety standards, the CDC should not be  sitting on data so clearly needed to protect the public from a chemical  that appears to be widespread in drinking water and food," wrote Wiles.  "The NHANES perchlorate data should be released immediately." Bill Walker or Renee Sharp, (510) 444-0973 EWG Public Affairs, (202) 667-6982



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