A recent reversal of an EPA regulation governing the amount of perchlorate levels in public drinking water has gained widespread attention. Many health and wellness consumer advocacy groups and respected environmental scientists have expressed concern that without the EPA’s oversight, water supplies could deliver excessive perchlorate to state residents around the country. Many fear that this water contamination will lead to health issues.
Studied for more than a decade, perchlorate has a record of potentially leading to long-term issues, including lowered I.Q. in children and hypothyroidism in adults. Many individuals who routinely drink water sourced from wells near perchlorate-producing military facilities or ordinary municipal water supplies are pushing for the administration to revert to prior limitations on the amount of perchlorate allowable in consumable water.
The chemical, perchlorate, can occur in some natural settings and can also be man-made. It can be found in some fertilized soils, as well as potash. Its manufactured version is commonly associated with the creation of explosives, including fireworks, missiles, rocket fuel, and vehicle safety flares. Occasionally, perchlorate may be used to help create specific types of containers to store or transport dry materials.
On its own, perchlorate does not present a threat to humans. However, it should not be imbibed or ingested. Otherwise, medical disruptions may happen.
People do not drink or eat perchlorate on their own accord. Most perchlorate imbibing occurs when a person drinks contaminated water, such as from a local well or even from tap water. Perchlorate leeches into the soils and groundwater supplies, eventually making its way into homes and businesses.
Some food may contain perceptible doses of perchlorate, according to tests that occurred in the mid-2000s. In general, though, the wide majority people who present problems associated with consumption of perchlorate trace their issues to their drinking water rather than foods they are eating.
A recent study from a top university has revealed that perchlorate stops the body’s ability to fully absorb and utilize iodide and iodine. Without iodine, the thyroid gland cannot send the proper hormonal signals throughout the body. Women who are pregnant or nursing often take iodide or iodine supplements to stimulate normal thyroid growth in their developing infants.
Perchlorate puts up a barrier to the thyroid. Researchers believe that when given the choice between perchlorate and iodine, the thyroid always chooses to take in the perchlorate. Consequently, people who drink water with higher than acceptable levels of perchlorate may wind up with thyroid issues. Whenever a part of the body cannot function efficiently, it negatively impacts other parts of the human system.
Anyone who drinks well water or public water has the right to know the contents of the water, including how much perchlorate it contains. Nevertheless, with the EPA no longer measuring perchlorate, consumers may have difficulty finding out exactly what they are putting into their bodies, and the bodies of their children.
Since perchlorate can disrupt development in fetuses and babies, pregnant women should be cautious about drinking water from the faucet. After giving birth, mothers who nurse are still at risk of passing excessive amounts of perchlorate through their breast milk to their newborn infants. Parents who choose to either mix formula with tap water or give their babies bottles of tap water may introduce perchlorate into their children’s diets.
Pregnant and nursing mothers are not the only consumers who should be careful about perchlorate. People with pre-existing thyroid conditions, especially hypothyroidism, may want to do whatever they can to avoid eating or drinking perchlorate.
Having too much perchlorate can stunt the thyroid’s effectiveness, leading to anything from lowered brainpower, to sluggish ability to process everything from food to information. Many patients who develop hypothyroidism notice they have dry skin, trouble remembering items, and have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
In babies and small children, excessive levels of perchlorate may lead to physical developmental delays, and possibly cognitive delays, according to the results of studies performed on other mammals. It should be noted that perchlorate may also affect the kidneys, pulmonary system, nervous system, reproductive organs, and liver.
It can be tough to determine how much perchlorate is in a community’s drinking supply, particularly with an end to testing. For that reason, consumers worried about drinking perchlorate in their water may want to limit using water for any type of hydration or cooking. This may include not using tap water or well water for any recipes, including those that call for boiling ingredients in heated water. Heating does not reduce the level of perchlorate. Neither does freezing, so ice cubes made from tap or well water should also be avoided. However, perchlorate-rich water seems to be safe for non-edible uses, such as cleaning dishes, taking showers and baths, and laundering clothing.
The easiest way to take away the chances of drinking water with perchlorate is to keep bottled water on hand at all times. Drinking bottled, purified water from a reliable source can greatly reduce exposure to perchlorate.
If you feel that you have been exposed to water containing high levels of perchlorate, you can contact your physicians for a work-up. A simple blood test can determine if a patient suffers from hypothyroidism or another common symptom of overexposure to perchlorate. Parents who feel their children were exposed to perchlorate may want to contact their pediatricians.
People who believe that they have a strong link between a medical issue and drinking water with perchlorate can always contact an attorney who practices environmental law. Environmental lawyers focus their attention on bringing justice for individuals and families affected by environmental-related problems. Having evidence from a doctor can go a long way towards making a claim.
Are you having serious thyroid issues or other issues that could be related to drinking or eating perchlorate? If so, our Wilmington environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. will evaluate your case and fight for your rights. Contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.