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California Milk May be Contaminated With Rocket Fuel

Young children and pregnant women who drink milk from California cows may be exposed to unsafe levels of a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel, according to a new study by an environmental group. The researchers found the chemical in 31 of 32 samples from milk purchased at grocery stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The study didn't determine how the chemical ended up in cows' milk, but perchlorate, a thyroid toxin that is a main ingredient of rocket and missile fuel, has been found in many of the state's water sources, which are used to irrigate farmland and grow crops fed to cows.

Perchlorate has also been found in drinking water in more than 20 states, including California, which has extensive ties to the military, defense industry and the space program. The chemical has been detected in the Colorado River, the major source of drinking water and irrigation in Southern California and Arizona. Perchlorate has also been found to contaminate lettuce and other vegetables.

USA Today June 22, 2004

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