Barstow, water: Schwarzenegger declares emergency in San Bernardino County
High levels of perchlorate were found in the Mojave Desert city’s water supply. Residents have been flocking to grocery stores to buy water, and the school district is prepared to provide students with bottled water when classes resume Monday.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Saturday for San Bernardino County, where the water supply for the city of Barstow was found to be contaminated with a toxic chemical used to make explosives and rocket fuel.
A day earlier, Golden State Water Co. warned residents of the desert town that their drinking water contained high levels of perchlorate, a contaminant often associated with defense and aerospace activities.
Perchlorate, a type of salt derived from perchloric acid, has been found in drinking water in at least 35 states. It can interfere with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. The thyroid, which releases hormones, helps with proper development in children and helps regulate metabolism.
According to the governor’s declaration, more than 40,000 customers were without their normal supply of drinking water, and several restaurants, hotels and other businesses had to close because of the contamination.
Meanwhile, residents still need to drink.
What is Perchlorate?
Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and manmade contaminant increasingly found in groundwater, surface water and soil. Most perchlorate manufactured in the U. S. is used as an ingredient in solid fuel for rockets and missiles. In addition, perchlorate-based chemicals are also used in the construction of highway safety flares, fireworks, pyrotechnics, explosives, common batteries, and automobile restraint systems. Perchlorate contamination has been reported in at least 20 states. Perchlorate greatly impacts human health by interfering with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland. In adults, the thyroid gland helps regulate the metabolism by releasing hormones, while in children, the thyroid helps in proper development. Perchlorate is becoming a serious threat to human health and water resources. http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/hazardouswaste/perchlorate/