Perchlorate exists as an anion (CIO4 ) with a central chlorine atom surrounded by four oxygen atoms arranged in a tetrahedron. Perchlorate is manufactured in the United States and is used as the primary ingredient of solid rocket propellant. Perchlorate wastes from the manufacture and/or improper disposal of perchlorate-containing chemicals are frequently detected in the soil and water. Levels of perchlorate have been detected in 58 California public water systems and in water samples from 18 states.
The widespread water contamination by perchlo-rate and its potential to cause health effects in those consuming contaminated drinking water have led four US agencies—the EPA, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration—to request that the US National Academy of Sciences convene a study on ''Toxicological Assessment of Perchlorate Ingestion.''
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