April 7, 2014
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Newly published research is the first to characterize the distribution and interactions of natural perchlorate in a terrestrial ecosystem. The study results are important in assessing risks associated with ecological and human health and with potential movement of natural perchlorate contamination into groundwater.
The U.S. Geological Survey and Texas Tech University study quantified natural levels of perchlorate in desert soil, plants, and atmospheric materials, and identified what controls its natural cycling and accumulation. Perchlorate, a chemical found in rocket fuel and fertilizers, is a compound that also occurs naturally. These new findings quantify natural perchlorate background levels and improve understanding of soil-plant-atmosphere processes that will, in turn, aid the identification, interpretation, and treatment of sites contaminated by human uses of perchlorate.