June 27, 2011
It is common knowledge that conventional produce contains a whole list of questionable chemicals and harmful pesticides. Linked to birth defects and lower IQ in children, conventional pesticides are known to be health disruptors. But what about organic produce? Perchlorate, a pollutant and powerful endocrine disruptor that is a key ingredient in rocket fuel, has been found in 32% of organic produce.
In 2005 the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology published a study on perchlorate levels in North America. They found:
“Conventionally and organically produced lettuce and other leafy vegetable samples were collected from production fields and farmers’ markets in the central and coastal valleys of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Quebec, and New Jersey. Results show that 16% of the conventionally produced samples and 32% of the organically produced samples had quantifiable levels of perchlorate using ion chromatography. Estimated perchlorate exposure from organically produced leafy vegetables was approximately 2 times that of conventional produce…”
Used by military defense contractors, aerospace programs, and various other military operations, perchlorate has been contaminated its way into drinking water, feed and edible plants, animals products, milk and breast milk, and both conventional and organic produce. It is so abundant in the food chain, in fact, that it has been found in virtually all humans tested. The Colorado River is so thoroughly contaminated with perchlorate (1.5-8 micrograms per Liter) that 90% of the lettuce consumed during the winter months in the United States produced in the Lower Colorado River region was found to contain it.
The ability for health-conscious consumers to purchase contaminant-free organic produce is heavily threatened by this endocrine disrupting chemical. Purchasing locally grown high-quality organic foods from reputable farms is the best option for now, but action must be taken before perchlorate contaminates the food supply even further. The study that found 32% of organic produce to contain perchlorate was from 2005, the number could be much higher at the present.