Sunday, February 6, 2011

Perchlorate in Our Drinking Water

A recent article (2.3.11) in the New York Times was titled, “E.P.A. Standards for Drinking Water Single Out a New Group of Toxic Compounds.” The article stated that the Obama administration would impose limits on permissible levels of a new set of toxic chemicals in drinking water, including the first standards for perchlorate. Perchlorate is a dangerous compound, found in rocket fuel and fireworks, which has contaminated water supplies in 26 states.

Perchlorate is a chlorinated compound that can cause problems with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. In fact, perchlorate can bind to and inactivate the transport mechanism that moves iodine into the thyroid gland. In effect, perchlorate can cause/worsen iodine deficiency. Estimates are that from 5 to 17 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with perchlorate.

The Obama decision reverses a Bush administration decision that there was no need to regulate perchlorate levels in the water supply. Overall, this is good news. We need clean drinking water. However, the E.P.A. has not yet set the standards for perchlorate. They estimate that standards will not be set for approximately two years.

Two years to set a standard for a known toxin in our water supply? Hello, Mcfly! Anyone home? (I really like the movie Back To The Future).

Perchlorate has been found to contaminate nearly all of the winter lettuce supplies in the U.S.—both organic as well as conventional sources. Folks, perchlorate toxicity is a big problem.

I have written and lectured extensively on the iodine deficiency epidemic that is plaguing our country. I believe that iodine deficiency, driven in part from perchlorate contamination of our water supply, is responsible for the epidemic of breast, thyroid, ovarian, uterine and prostate cancer. Furthermore, perchlorate exposure may be driving the large numbers of patients suffering from thyroid and other hormonal problems.

Overall, the E.P.A. announcement is good news. Finally the government is looking out for its citizens and setting standards to reduce our exposure to known toxins. However, we cannot wait for the government to do the right thing (two years???). We need to be educated about these toxins and how you can avoid them. In the case of perchlorate, the best advice I can give you is to ensure that you and your family are ingesting adequate amounts of iodine. My experience has shown that adequate amounts for most adults range from 6-50mg/day of a combination of iodine and iodide. More information about iodine and perchlorate can be found in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition.


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