29 December 2002
Perchlorate in Lettuce - a new report from EWG

High Levels of Toxic Rocket Fuel Found in Lettuce
a new report from the Environmental Working Group

Eating lettuce or other vegetables grown in fields irrigated by the Colorado River may expose consumers to a larger dose of toxic rocket fuel than is considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to test data and documents obtained by Environmental Working Group (EWG). Test results never before made public show that leafy vegetables grown with contaminated irrigation water take up, store and concentrate potentially harmful levels of perchlorate, a thyroid toxin that is the explosive main ingredient of rocket and missile fuel.

Sworn depositions and other courtroom documents show that the giant aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin - a major user of perchlorate responsible for widespread contamination of Southern California water supplies - knew as early as 1997 that vegetables stored high concentrations of the chemical, but said nothing to the EPA or state health officials. Since most perchlorate-related work by defense contractors is done for the U.S. military, the Department of Defense may also have known, but said nothing to warn other agencies, consumers - or farmers whose crops, through no fault of their own, may be tainted by contaminated irrigation water.

For the entire report and supporting documents, see

Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
< lsiegel@cpeo.org >


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