delware environmental institute

Cleaner water: Novel membrane helps remove perchlorate from drinking water

Cleaner water:  Novel membrane helps remove perchlorate from drinking water

According to National Cancer Institute statistics, an estimated 48,020 men and women will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2011. The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones that control metabolism and growth.

Perchlorate is an emerging contaminant that is known to interfere with the metabolism of the thyroid gland in humans and is thought to be a leading cause of thyroid cancer. Toxic even at low levels, on the order of four parts per billion (ppb), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that perchlorate contamination has affected 15 million people in the United States via drinking water.

Valued in laboratory experiments because it does not react with any other chemical species in water, perchlorate is a chemical byproduct of common fireworks, fertilizer, hazard flares and matches, as well as rocket fuel, munitions and propellants used in the defense industry. (full article)