Experts: Rocket Fuel Additive Found in More Than Just Baby Formula

Texas Tech University has experts to discuss research with perchlorate.

A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found trace amounts of perchlorate, an additive of rocket fuel and human thyroid disruptor, in powdered baby formula. Since some city water supplies contain perc, the study raised concerns that the tainted baby formulas can exceed the safe adult dose amount if mixed with tainted water. Several Texas Tech University researchers have studied the additive. From writing the book on the chemical to finding it in breast milk, store-bought milk and naturally occurring amounts in West Texas well water, these experts can offer enlightened information on the topic. Texas Tech scientists Ron Kendall and Philip Smith wrote the book on perchlorate ecotoxicology. Kendall, director of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, and Smith, an associate professor at the institute, used their ecotoxicology research of the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant Superfund site, adjacent to Caddo Lake in East Texas, to write the textbook, Perchlorate Ecotoxicology. The study prompted about 75 peer-reviewed publications as well. Ron Kendall, director of TIEHH, (806) 885-4567 or ron.kendall@tiehh.ttu.edu; Philip Smith, associate professor at TIEHH, (806) 885-0316, (806) 786-6908, or philip.smith@tiehh.ttu.edu.Ernest Smith, an associate professor with TIEHH, studied the occurrence of perchlorate in human breast milk and store-bought milk. Results suggested that perchlorate's presence could be associated with drinking water and other food contamination. Also, he has studied perchlorate's risk to wildlife, water and the environment. Ernest Smith, associate professor at TIEHH, (806) 885-0233, or ernest.smith@tiehh.ttu.edu.Andrew Jackson, co-author of an award-winning 2005 study that focused on naturally occurring perchlorate in West Texas groundwater. Researchers discovered perchlorate in a 60,000-square-mile area during testing. Since the region had no widespread industrial sources that produced or used the chemical, and there was no widespread use of perchlorate-containing fertilizers, the team determined that the chemical probably occurs naturally. Andrew Jackson, associate professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, (806) 742-2801 ext. 230, andrew.jackson@ttu.edu.