Occurrence in Food

Although the primary concerns from perchlorate contamination result from drinking water consumption, recent evidence has indicated that perchlorate may contaminate food items as well. A small survey of 22 lettuce samples purchased in northern California showed perchlorate contamination in 4 samples. A subsequent study of California lettuce showed detectable perchlorate levels in all 18 samples tested. The toxicological

significance of such findings has not been established, but the studies clearly indicate that perchlo-rate can enter lettuce, presumably from growing conditions in which perchlorate has contaminated water or soil.

Milk has also been shown to be subject to per-chlorate contamination. A small survey of seven milk samples purchased in Lubbock, Texas, indicated that perchlorate was present in all of the samples at levels ranging from 1.12 to 6.30 mg/l. To put such findings in perspective, the State of California has adopted an action level of 4 mg/l for perchlorate in drinking water, whereas the EPA has yet to establish a specific drinking water limit.

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