There is a material known as perchlorate that can now become a concern for many people and could pose a risk for our water supplies. Perchlorates are salts derived from perchloric acid, which is used in the pyrotechnics industry and in the production of rocket fuel. This contaminant has found its way into our water supplies and our food, and it represents a significant health risk. Let’s take a closer look at perchlorate, how it can affect our health and how you can protect your family.

Why is Perchlorate Dangerous?

Perchlorate is a chemical that is known as an endocrine disruptor. It can disrupt the normal function of the thyroid and the production of hormones. It does this by inhibiting the ability of the thyroid glands to uptake levels of iodine. Perchlorate is also known to affect the growth and brain development of fetuses, infants and young children. Sadly, perchlorate salts are usually extremely water soluble, and they cannot be detected without water testing. In many areas of the country, the land and waterways have already been contaminated with perchlorate.

Perchlorate Has Been Found in U.S. Drinking Water

According to perchlorate data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more than 4% of public water systems have been shown to contain traces of perchlorate. This equates to somewhere between 5-17 million people that are drinking and using water that’s contaminated with perchlorate.

This contamination is present in drinking water supplies, but it’s also in the water that’s used to irrigate farm crops. A great deal of this contamination has come from defense aerospace industries and military testing and training ranges. Perchlorate is often found as a byproduct of propellant used in missiles and rockets. Water sourced from the Colorado River is particularly notorious for low levels of perchlorate contamination, and leafy vegetables irrigated from this river water is contaminated.

In 2011, the EPA set an enforceable limit on the levels of perchlorate found in drinking water. This occurred after perchlorate was found in baby formula and organic food sources. The best way to avoid drinking water that’s contaminated with perchlorate is to use a water treatment system at home.

Can Home Water Treatment System Reduce Perchlorate Levels?

The best recent research has shown that perchlorate is not absorbed well through human skin. The dangers of ingesting perchlorate through drinking water are far more pressing, and a water treatment system that can reduce or remove this contaminant is needed.

A carbon filter found in a water pitcher or refrigerator would have no effect on reducing perchlorate levels in drinking water. The most effective method that works to remove perchlorate would be a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system. This can provide clean drinking water at a competitive price, and it can be used for cleaning water for food and cooking purposes. A small RO system can be easily installed under the kitchen sink to provide clean water there only. If you want cleaner water at every faucet and showerhead in your home, a whole house RO system will be a good option.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.