A new study shows newborns in perchlorate contaminated areas have a 50% chance of having impaired thyroid function. Perchlorate is an oxidizer used in rocket propellant that attacks the thyroid. It has been detected in groundwater in Nohili, Kaua’i near the caves where munitions are stored. I think it was also detected in Schofield (Lihu’e). The levels detected in Hawai’i were below the federal limit (around 25 parts per billion) but above the California limit (5 ppb). Needless to say, when asked about conducting further investigations and cleaning up the contamination, the military dismissed the perchlorate contamination as insignificant. The Department of Defense has fought efforts to set tougher standards for perchlorate. Here’s an excerpt from a Press Enterprise article on the California infant health study:
A new analysis by state scientists found that low levels of a rocket fuel chemical common in Inland drinking water supplies appear to be more harmful to newborn babies than previously believed, prompting calls for a tougher limit for tap water.
Scientists with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment examined records of blood samples drawn from the heels of 497,458 newborns in 1998 as part of a California disease-screening program.
The researchers found that the babies born in areas where tap water was contaminated with perchlorate — including babies in Riverside and San Bernardino — had a 50 percent chance of having a poorly performing thyroid gland, said Dr. Craig Steinmaus, lead author of the study published in this month’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.