Lettuce Study This More
A toxic chemical used in rocket fuel was found in four of 22 winter lettuce samples purchased at Northern California grocery stores, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group. The lettuce contaminated with perchlorate, a hormone disrupter, was traced to farms in Southern California and Arizona that irrigate their crops with Colorado River water, which has been contaminated with perchlorate by military and industrial activity. An average-sized serving of the tainted leafy greens contained at least four times the level of perchlorate considered safe in drinking water by the U.S. EPA, though not enough research has been done to determine how much perchlorate in the diet would be dangerous. EWG is calling on the federal government to do a comprehensive study of perchlorate in the food stream and to clean up military sites contaminated with the chemical. Earlier this month, Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), and Harry Reid (Nev.) wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld calling for more aggressive cleanup of perchlorate-contaminated sites.