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WHAT CAN YOU DO

Perchlorate

Q: Where Am I Exposed?

Perchlorate residues are being found with increasing frequency in water, soils, and even foods. Perchlorate is known as a persistent toxicant and can remain in water and soils for long periods. Most exposures to perchlorate come from drinking contaminated water. Food can also contain perchlorate if it was grown in contaminated soil or irrigated or processed with contaminated water. Various levels of perchlorate have been found in lettuce, milk, and bottled water, and more foods are being tested for perchlorate.

Q: What Can I Do?

  • Ask your doctor for a thyroid test. Pregnant women, or those who are likely to become pregnant, are highly encouraged to be screened for thyroid functioning;
  • Ask government authorities to install a treatment system for your community or purchase a home treatment system. Water treatment systems, either for whole cities or for home use, can remove perchlorate from water supplies;
  • Avoid food grown in contaminated areas. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to tell if food is contaminated with perchlorate. Even organically grown produce may have perchlorate levels above those recommended by the EPA. Parents can avoid purchasing food from areas that are known to be irrigated by perchlorate-contaminated water, such as central California or areas that use Colorado River water.

Adapted from the Practice Prevention Columns on the Collaborative on Health and the Environment website, and other sources as indicated.

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