Jump to content

Rocket Fuel Chemical Found in Organic Milk


briarrose
 Share

Recommended Posts

Rocket Fuel Chemical Found in Organic Milk

WASHINGTON - The government has found traces of a rocket fuel chemical in organic milk in Maryland, green leaf lettuce grown in Arizona and bottled spring water from Texas and California. What's not clear is the significance of the data, collected by the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) through Aug. 19.

Sufficient amounts of perchlorate can affect the thyroid, potentially causing delayed development and other problems.

But Environmental Protection Agency (news - web sites) official Kevin Mayer called for calm, saying in an interview Tuesday: "Alarm is not warranted. That is clear."

"I think that it is important that EPA and FDA (news - web sites) and other agencies come to some resolution about the toxicity of this chemical," Mayer said. "That has been, frankly, a struggle for the last few years."

The FDA found that of the various food items it tested, iceberg lettuce grown in Belle Glade, Fla., had the highest concentrations of perchlorate. The greens had 71.6 parts per billion of the compound, the primary ingredient in solid rocket propellent. Red leaf lettuce grown in El Centro, Calif., had 52 ppb of perchlorate. Most of the purified, distilled and spring bottled water tested around the nation tested had no detectable amount of perchlorate.

Whole organic milk in Maryland, however, had 11.3 ppb of perchlorate.

Asked whether that level of chemical in milk was worrisome, Mayer, the EPA's regional perchlorate coordinator for Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada, said, "The answer is, we don't know yet."

The FDA said in a statement that consumers should not change their eating habits in response to the test results, posted on the agency's Web site Friday.

The testing comes as federal agencies try find how much perchlorate people are exposed to from food so they can determine whether action is needed to protect the public health. Federal agencies have been trying since the early 1990s to determine what level of perchlorate is safe.

The state of California, meanwhile, set a standard of no more than 10 ppb of perchlorate in drinking water. That was lowered to 6 ppb in drinking water to account for the chemical also lacing food, Mayer said.

A more conservative suggestion, in a draft from the EPA, would allow no more than 1 ppb of perchlorate in drinking water.

The FDA tested lettuce samples collected at farms and packing sheds and bottled water from retail stores. Raw milk samples came from a research facility in Maryland and other milk samples were obtained from retail stores.

"These data are exploratory and should not be understood to be a reflection of the distribution of perchlorate in the U.S. food supply," the agency said in a statement. "Until more is known about the health effects of perchlorate and its occurrence in foods, FDA continues to recommend that consumers eat a balanced diet, choosing a variety of foods that are low in trans fat and saturated fat, and rich in high-fiber grains, fruits and vegetables."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest tearose

You are such a kick! I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Don't you have some laundry to do? Where did you find this briar! It is so wonderful to read something to take me away from all this other stuff. Even though this is a potential for serious problems...there are risks in so many things. Thank you for this. You are educating us, you are funny and uplifting!!!

Just don't find anything bad about my dunkin' coffee cause I need it along with my rocket fueled milk to get me going...hey, maybe the milk is giving me the boost and not the coffee?

You are a gem! with hugs, tearose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I heard this report on the radio yesterday. It is concerning--particularly since we live in MD and my daughter drinks organic milk from Maryland. However, I also looked at the data from this study, on the fda site:

http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/clo4data.html

This is just the beginning of a data collection effort, which I don't think the press release makes clear. Instead you are led to believe by the headline that something might be wrong with organic milk from Maryland, etc., just b/c they collected data on it and compared it to a few other samples.

I think bottom line--yes, we are exposing ourselves and our children to endocrine disruptors and we don't know enough yet to understand the impacts this might cause, but keep eating as varied a diet as you can and don't avoid foods just b/c they are listed in this report. This study is small and more information is needed.

Katherine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest tearose

dear pals, let's not go down that path too far! If we start really examining the air we really are breathing, the food we eat, the clothes, the homes, the medicines, the water...we can't police it all. It will not be healthy for our dysautonomic bodies. There is just so much we can control, we must choose our battles. I am just going to ask for us to remind each other that nothing is perfect and to be mindful but cautious. For sure, organic products "seem better" however, if for example mad cow disease is out there actively, it will infect both organic and non-organic stock because the organism will not discriminate between the two! I hope I don't sound harsh. It is just that there is so much "truth" we will never be told that we have to somehow learn to live and thrive in spite of the real dangers. tearose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

tearose, I agree, and I think that's what I was trying to say as well--let's not get too worried about it and just try to take care of ourselves to the extent we have the power to. One minor point of disagreement, organic cows are not as likely to develop mad cow disease because they are not fed dead animals, which is how mad cow disease is passed from animal to animal. However, mad cow disease is one of our least worries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, maybe I'm missing something, but can someone please explain how perchlorate (the substance in rocket fuel) got into the ground and our milk in the first place??? It's not like we're launching rockets every day at these places, so what is the source? :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good question, Gena! Perchlorate is actually used for a lot of different things--not just rocket fuel, but all kinds of munitions, fixers for fabrics and dyes, commercial fertilizers, and a lot of other industrial uses. The primary way it makes its way into the environment is that it gets dumped as part of the waste stream, into surface waters and in landfills, or dumps where it leaches into groundwater. DOD has many dump sites contaminated with perchlorate. It appears that not all states are affected at this point--AND again, impacts to human health unknown--except it is an endocrine disruptor.

For more info check out the EPA website:

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/ccl/perchlora...erchlorate.html

Again, keep in mind tearose's good advice about picking battles!

Katherine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ahaaa! Thanks Katherine for that insight. I was thinking that it was only found in rocket fuel, so I was perplexed for a moment. :P Like everything else on this planet, it's a toxin that usually winds up in our food chain....We can't run and hide from everything, but it's good to be well informed. Well, I'm off to have a bowl of my organic cereal with some oranic milk. Cheers! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest tearose

Katherine, as someone wiser than me said, "friends sharpen each others reasoning stones".

My counterpoint to your comment on mad cow disease being less likely in organic fed cows...the growth hormone which also causes mad cow disease "could" also leach into organic feed just as easily as rocket fuel waste...less likely but still possible.

Another point of interest from some faded information in my memory bank...there is something called "monkey flu" which appeared in an isolated testing lab and without exposure to each other, on an isolated island simultaneously. Sometimes mother nature, working along with the damage human beings have caused, will bring on dangerous situations that defy our current knowledge or understanding. In summary, we could eat all the "right" food, breathe "perfect" air, wear "natural" clothing and still have toxic exposure....or we could get bitten by a west nile fly! tearose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TeaRose

Your response made me laugh so hard, thank you

Katherine, I think that my concern would be that the EPA are wanting to set standards for drinking water to be no more than 1 ppb but the milk is over 11 ppb. We have the EPA for a reason and it's their job to protect us as well as the FDA. Thx for your article on Perchlorate.

TeaRose

I agree with choosing your battles especially when we can't or don't know how to police our own food. I also think that the chemicals they found were from a specific state's cow milk, not all cow milk.

I didn't bring this up to scare anyone. I think people should be educated and aware about certain things so they can make the best judgment calls. I know many of you are from the Midwest and NE corner of the US, I thought you might find it interesting.

This has been an interesting topic hasn't it! :P

We have all speculated what might have caused POTS. Some people believe that a virus brought it on, others think maybe chemical exposure, and some think they've had it from childhood.

When we were discussing why there seem to be more known POTS patients from Ohio, there seemed to be speculation about that too. Was it because the really well known POTS specialists are from Ohio and they've done a good job educating the state medical community? Is it something in the environment? I think I posted an article several months ago on the dirty little secrets of Ohio's coal plants; they have the highest chemical release of any other state in the US. Anyway, again I'm not trying to scare anyone, I'm just providing information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

briarrose

Your post did ellicit a good response! I agree EPA exists for good reason and I understand what you are saying--what I was saying was keep in mind these data are from a preliminary study. They do not show that there is any particular level in all milk from any location (e.g., Maryland). Study states: "These data are exploratory and should not be understood to be a reflection of the distribution of perchlorate in the U.S. food supply." The few samples they tested had high levels. It's definitely a red flag. Since I live in MD especially, it is of concern to me and I will keep following the story.

(Regarding drinking water levels--the justification used to set these levels are complex, but one thing they consider is that drinking water is consumed in higher amounts than many foods are.)

Thanks for sharing the article with us all.

Katherine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Katherine

Truly I understood what you were saying. I know that it was a random study and that they actually went on to say that there were several other food items with no ppb's in them.

I think it's important that we continue to support the government in sharing their results with us, as they should. It's just something to think about.

It goes to show you that we should all pay attention to the eco chain and how the environment impacts it.r

So don't be one of those people running out and buying property at a reduced rate by the government because it had missle silos for several years and leaked chemicals :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Julia59

Thanks for the information Briarrose,

If the government spent half the energy finding the source of the toxic exposures as they do to cover it up---we would have a lot less sick people.

I sought the help of an attorney for exposure to toxic fumes and I was told that most legal professionals would not want the case as they are too difficult. One said it would be like trying to handle a herd of elephants----said it would be a huge undertaking. So i'm left knowing that this company got away with exposing an entire "herd" of human beings to toxic fumes------so toxic--------that if one ate the crackers left in their desk, it would leave a METALLIC taste in ones mouth. I was one of those lucky ones who got to have that taste. In fact one day I went into work after missing a month after my health crashed. I went to handle some paper work my office employees were not familiar with.

It would only take an hour. That day they must have pushed those ink towels through the system---or they have been for a while. They were fined by the EPA in 1990---and told to launder the shop towels in the Cleveland facility---due to the lack of proper waste handling in the Toledo facility. They were NOT supposed to handle that type of waste again in Toledo. I hadn't eaten much and I was desparate---so I ate some oyster crackers in my desk--------sure enough---a very heavy metal taste. Where in the heck do they think those high levels of lead found in my body was caused from? These lead levels were found three months after my health crashed----------------two weeks later after my employer found out about the high lead levels---I WAS OUT OF A JOB!

I know I was born with ANS dysfunction (weather it be from my structural problems with cranial/cervical issues or genetic. There is no doubt in my mind that those chemical fumes played a role in my sudden decline in my health in Dec. of 2000. Otherwise why would I have shown a gradual improvement in symptoms after leaving the company?

Atleast I can bathe now----and muddle around a do a few things. However, I don't think i'll ever be the same---and I blame those chemical fumes--regardless of my upper spine falling apart or not. I beleive I was one of the lucky one's as my pre-existing issues made me more aware of the silent danger that was lurking. Unfortunately I worked there 10 years.

As far as i'm concerned---there can never be enough education of the dangers of chemical exposure----weather it be fumes---in our food---in our milk-----or in our drinking water---I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT!

Thanks again,

Julie :0)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Julia--I am so so sorry that you experienced such toxic exposures at work. Yes, you are so right--education is so important, as is transparency of government. And we Americans need to continue to call and work for both. One complication is that this stuff is complex. Often, unless you are a specialist/scientist, it is hard to interpret studies, for example.

briarrose--I so agree that we as individuals need to pay attention to ecosystem impacts. This is where education comes in too. We have some power as consumers to refuse to consume products made with toxic processes or ingredients, for example. But most people don't know where most of the products they buy come from or how they were made, or what lower-impact alternatives are available. We are also a highly consumptive and wasteful society.

As far a endocrine disruptors (like perchlorate) making their way into our food chain--who knows what the impacts will be, or are. We don't know. There are studies showing animal populations (e.g. frogs) with disturbing reproductive and developmental problems in areas where water content is high in these kinds of chemical wastes, for example.

Bottom line, I think--educate yourself, do what you can to keep your exposures minimized (eating low on the food chain, eating a variety of foods, etc.) , and when you have the energy and time promote more public education, studies, changes in government regs, etc.

Katherine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

As follow-up--National Academy of Sciences has released a report on the health effects of perchlorate.

Katherine

Perchlorate in water less of a threat, panel claims

Rocket fuel trace level study draws dissent

By Tom Pelton

Sun Staff

Originally published January 11, 2005

Drinking water tainted by an ingredient in rocket fuel and explosives is less dangerous than previously thought, and the chemical might not cause brain damage in babies or thyroid illnesses at trace levels, according to a report yesterday by the National Academy of Sciences.

The report said that perchlorate, which has polluted municipal water supplies in Maryland, California and dozens of other states, might be safe at levels at about 20 times the amount suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002.

The conclusion - if accepted by the EPA and states - could mean a savings of tens of millions of dollars in cleanup costs for defense contractors such as Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp., which has been sued in California for dumping the chemical onto the ground near missile testing sites.

An environmental advocacy group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, charged yesterday that the White House and Pentagon had lobbied behind the scenes to convince the scientific panel to downplay the risks of the chemical.

"This report confirms our worst fears - that the White House and the Defense Department and their contractors were able to unduly influence the academy," said Jennifer Sass, a scientist at the New York-based NRDC. "It's part of a brazen campaign to downplay the dangers of perchlorate."

Officials at the NRDC said that public records recently obtained through a lawsuit showed that the Department of Defense and White House discussed how the scope of the study should be limited and which scientists should sit on the panel.

Some of the studies used by the NAS to reach its conclusions were funded by the defense industry or Pentagon, said the NRDC. And in the end, the 15-member panel had two scientists who had at one time performed work for the defense or perchlorate industries. A third scientist stepped down after being accused of a conflict.

William Colglazier, executive officer of the National Academies of Science, denied that the private, nonprofit organization, whose members are selected by independent academics around the world, was biased or influenced by lobbying.

"We were completely independent," Colglazier said. "The academy has total control over who was appointed, and there were no conflicts of interest."

His organization did confirm that one of the five health studies relied on most heavily by the NAS was funded in part by the Perchlorate Study Group, a defense industry trade association that includes Lockheed Martin.

Gail Rymer, Lockheed Martin spokeswoman, said it's too early to say whether the report will mean lower cleanup costs because the EPA, California and local governments are all free to set tighter limits than recommended by the NAS.

The EPA will review the report and use it to create national drinking water standards.

Lockheed Martin has spent $80 million removing perchlorate and other pollutants from public water supplies in California and will likely spend perhaps $180 million more, Rymer said, depending on the levels required by local governments.

The rocket fuel additive-whose presence in the ecosystem is a legacy of the massive missile buildup during the Cold War - has in recent years been discovered in drinking water used by more than 11 million people in 35 states.

In Maryland, public drinking wells near Aberdeen Proving Ground were temporarily shut down in recent years after testing positive for perchlorate that had seeped from the Army base's testing range.

The EPA suggested in 2002 a maximum safe level of 1 part per billion of perchlorate in drinking water, and Maryland and Massachusetts adopted similar recommendations. Based on a study on rats, the EPA predicted that perchlorate could cause thyroid tumors in humans.

But the NAS panel concluded that the chemical was "unlikely to lead to thyroid tumors in humans." At high enough levels, perchlorate can hurt the thyroid gland's production of hormones, the NAS said. But the panel said there isn't enough evidence to determine whether trace levels of perchlorate will cause brain damage or developmental delays in babies, as some have feared.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About perchlorate

What is it? Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical that is used as the primary ingredient of solid rocket propellant.

What are the health risks? Perchlorate disrupts how the thyroid functions and might lead to tumors of that gland.

Does my water contain perchlorate? Perchlorate has been found in at least 20 states throughout the United States, including in Maryland near Aberdeen Proving Ground.

What does the report mean? If the EPA accepts the scientific panel's recommendations, higher amounts of perchlorate, up to 20 times greater than the current levels, will be allowed in drinking water.

Source: EPA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, here's a few ag tidbits for you all...

Mad cow and animal feed... The U.S. regulates very strictly that before any bone meal protein is used in animal feed it is radiated/sterilized so that no "germ," including that which causes "Mad Cow Disease" can be passed on. In neighboring Canada and Mexico this is not the case. Hummm, and our government just announced they are opening borders to outside meat! Why? It's their "cheap food supply for Americans" policy at work. Ask for US meat only at restaurants!

And also, most Mid-western farmers use crop proteins (from corn and soybeans) in their cattle/hogs largely because this is where most of these crops are grown and this form of protein readily available.

On growth hormones in cattle/hogs (chickens are whole different story--no inspectors for chickens, scary!)... most farmers do not use synergistic growth hormones to feed out (or fatten) their cattle/hogs for market. Mostly only commercial feedlots using these hormones. Answer... buy a side of beef or a hog from a local farmer who doesn't use hormones and store in deep freezer.

On "organic" meat... First, "organic" is not a practical option, and in many cases, much more inhumane method. Cattle/hogs are given vaccinations at an early age--just like us--to ward off any diseases that come along. And we have a LOT of diseases running around. I've seen "organic" farmers whose animals are disease-riddeen, suffer, live in terrible conditions, lose many of their calves/piglets just because they can't use vaccines to keep disease in the herd under control.

Cattle/hogs are given a modified live virus--often just like us--that stimulates the natural chemical defense in the animals. Then when the real disease comes along--just like us--they can tackle it quickly and easily. NONE of these viruses/vaccines/chemicals ever stay in the animal to the butcher stage.

If all farmers were "organic" there would be wide-spread starvation in humans as there would not be enough food to feed the country. Hence, fertilizers in crops, chemicals to choke out weeds, insecticides or preditor pests to take out invader pests, vaccinations and vitamins in animals. By the way, we are genetically modified, too--ever take a vitamin?

Also, cattle/hogs are tested for any residues, hormones, chemicals before being cleared for processing for consumption.

As for rocket fuel and other chemicals. I don't have a clue. I know this, the average person does far more harm to the ground than most farmers. Farmers are tested annually, licensed for this and that, and treat their ground and animals with utmost respect--it's their livlihoods! I can watch some average person run into the garden store and buy up chemicals left and right, overapply them and never be inspected or held accountable for the run off from his/her yard into the water supply. And look at all the waste we generate with our cars, plastics, electronics, etc.

Whew... Bet you weren't ready for that. Yes, my husband and I farmed full time for 8 years, including cattle and hogs. Now, we farm on the side corn and beans. We do have a few cows on pasture, but don't feed them out. The new calves coming the last few weeks are sooooo cute! And no, just because we are farmers, doesn't mean we eat meat and potatoes every night. I hate that stereotype. We limit our red meat, eat veggies/fruits, etc. Farmers are smart folks. It's all high-tech anymore, they have to be.

My biggest concerns are that we are all eating so much processed stuff. Read the label on that "soy milk." Is that really natural? Or more healthy than milk? We would all be better to go back to eating foods closest to their natural state and forgetting the processed stuff.

Ok, enough. This has to be the longest post I've made.

Ginger

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I had my first son, they said breast milk caused cancer in your babies. I take everything with a grain of salt. This is a toxic world, period, and we can worry about everything or not. I choose not. My son is 28 and I breast fed him. If he gets cancer I will have a very hard time believing I killed him giving him nutrition. morgan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...