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Rocket fuel in your salad.

I am writing in response to the great article in the November/December 2003 issue ("A Little Rocket Fuel With Your Salad?"), but first I want to say how much I look forward to receiving my World Watch every two months! I am always quoting articles in it to my colleagues at the University of Missouri in St. Louis.

My background is in tropical ecology and forestry, so my knowledge of water as a natural resource is lacking. The article by Gene Ayres was an eye-opener for me, and I am going to begin exploring the issues he addresses in it. To get started I have a question. Since the problem of perchlorates has been found in locations in 43 states I am concerned about the health and safety of my family. Is it necessary for individuals to investigate the levels of perchlorates in the drinking water and produce within their towns? If so, does each town or county health department test these things, and is the information available for the public?

KIMBERLY A. SCHULTZ

University of Missouri

Gene Ayres replies: I'm sorry to say that while I can't speak for every state or town, there has been widespread official denial of this problem. Most of the results posted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) were from private and local studies. If you are concerned about the possibility of perchlorates in your drinking water, check with the EWG (www.ewg.org). They can tell you what has been tested in your area, or who you might contact. According to my sources and their earlier studies, the only sites in Missouri that have tested positive for perchlorates thus far are in Joplin and Independence.

You might also ascertain whether there have been any defense-related industries or fireworks factories in your area in the past 50 years. If there have been, I would ask the local water utility to test for perchlorates. I think Martin Marietta was once headquartered there.
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Title Annotation:From Readers
Author:Schultz, Kimberly A.
Publication:World Watch
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:328
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