During 2001-2002, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a limited study of perchlorate
in the state of Iowa. During this investigation, perchlorate was discovered in the southend of Hills, Iowa. Over 20 residential properties and businesses were identified as having perchlorate contamination.
The EPA completed more testing in the fall of 2003. Investigators found the pollutant in 126 of 156 drinking wells. Nearly 150 homes in the town of just 679 people tested positive for perchlorate contamination. Twenty-five homes have levels above the EPA's health guideline. Several residents have complained of health problems, although officials have yet to link them to the contamination.
Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical. Most of the perchlorate manufactured in the United States is used as the main ingredient of solid rocket fuel. It is also used in munitions, fireworks
, and chemical fertilizers. It is extremely soluable, stable, and mobile. Wastes from the manufacture and improper disposal of perchlorate-containing chemicals are increasingly being discovered in soil and water throughout the United States.
Exposure to high levels of perchlorate can damage the thyroid gland
, which in turn affects metabolism, growth and development in children. Thyroid damage in fetuses and infants may lead to mental retardation
and motor problems.
In adults, exposure to perchlorate may cause cancer
, hair loss
, unexplained weight gain, and decreased libido.
See your doctor if you have experienced serious health problems because of exposure to perchlorate. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
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