How Much Rocket Fuel Is Hiding In Your Tap Water?

Last month, I wrote about the growing incidence of perchlorate, a chemical used to make rocket fuel, in a very, very unusual place: Breast milk in samples taken from 23 states. Ever wonder what would happen if or when your town found an unusual amount of such a toxic chemical in its drinking water? The answer to that question is what drew me to this thoughtful and very scary piece about the town of Rialto, a small town in Southern California just north of Riverside.

In all, six of the town's 13 water wells have tested positive for perchlorate. The projected cleanup costs: More than double Rialto's annual city budget of $40 million! As a result, the city has sued dozens of suspected contributors to the contamination, including the Defense Department, raised local water rates by 65 percent and begged local residents to conserve water.

The source of the problem: A 2,800-acre tract of land north of downtown Rialto that was once used as a waystation for weapons being transported to Los Angeles during World War II. And, during the Cold War, defense contractors tested and built rockets there, to be followed by fireworks manufacturers and, to top it off, a county dump.

Today, that tainted area is steeped with new homes. Unbelievable...

City fathers suspect each occupant of the tract contributed to what's become a 7-mile stretch of perchlorate 400 feet below the ground that's polluting the town's aquifer as well as groundwater from neighboring areas. Which is why Rialto's leaders have taken the unusual and highly expensive step of banning perchlorate from its water supply. And, because standard filtering doesn't work on perchlorate, the town has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment that uses a resin to get rid of it.

Despite the town's unusually responsible step of treating its drinking water for perchlorate contamination, again let me point out it's a rarity. Especially, since the EPA bumped up the "safe limit" of perchlorate exponentially from 1 ppb (parts per billion) to 24 ppb!

Because water is so crucial to your optimal health, one of the most important steps you can take for the sake of you and your family is to take responsibility to ensure the safety of your tap water supply. Fortunately, I have much information on my Web site to help you do just that.

Yahoo News April 24, 2005

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