Perchlorate found in breast milk
Helen Pearson
Discovery fuels debate over pollution from rocket launches.





Breastfeeding woman could take an iodide supplement to combat perchlorate.

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Perchlorate, a toxic chemical in rocket fuel, is contaminating breast and cow's milk across the United States at levels that could harm human health. This situation may be mirrored elsewhere in the world, say the researchers. They recommend increasing the daily intake of iodine to combat the effects of the toxin.

Perchlorate, a toxic chemical in rocket fuel, is contaminating breast and dairy milk across the United States at levels that could harm human health. This situation may be mirrored elsewhere in the world, say researchers. They recommend increasing people's daily intake of iodine to combat the effects of the toxin.

Debate about perchlorate has raged in the United States since the late 1990s, when the chemical was discovered in many water supplies. It occurs naturally in soil, usually at low levels, but larger amounts have leached into the environment from the fuel used to launch missiles and space rockets.

Babies are thought to be at particular risk from the chemical. Perchlorate in high doses can cause mental retardation in fetuses and young children by interfering with production of thyroid hormones that are vital for nervous-system development.

And recent findings suggest that perchlorate is seeping into people's diet in a more pervasive way than was previously thought.

Doubled dose

Chemist Purnendu Dasgupta of Texas Tech University in Lubbock and his team tested 36 breast-milk samples from women in 18 states, and 47 samples of shop-bought cow's milk.

http://www.nature.com/news/2005/0502...050221-13.html



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