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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Rocket Fuel: pollutant in the Water, Air & Ground.

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18-Jan-05 (blog-usa op_ed) title:

Rocket Fuel: pollutant in the Water, Air & Ground.

How do you think the "z-hole" got burned into the ozone?

(pollutant from rocket fuel, a chemical called perchlorate)

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POSTED ON THE NET:

"U.S. tried to suppress pollutant study, group says"

10 Jan 2005 22:38:48 GMT Source: Reuters By
Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - A new report from
the National Academy of Sciences raises by 20 times
the amount of rocket fuel pollution in drinking water
considered "safe," but environmentalists on Monday
accused the government of influencing the report's findings.

The environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council
challenged the report even before it was issued, saying the
authors had been influenced by the Pentagon and defense
contractors and it had evidence to prove it.

The pollutant from rocket fuel, a chemical called perchlorate,
can affect thyroid function.

There are no federal limits on how much is safe
but independent groups have said the chemical
could affect developing babies.

The Academy's National Research Council, which
advises the government on scientific and environmental
matters, was asked by the Department of Defense, NASA
and other agencies to review evidence that perchlorate in
drinking water or food crops was harmful and if so, how much
was safe. Its report says people could drink up to up to 0.0007
milligrams per kilogram of body weight without harming even
the most sensitive populations -- about 20 times more than the
'reference dose' proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection.

"The most recent EPA risk assessment, published in 2002,
proposes a daily reference dose of 0.00003 milligrams
per kilogram of body weight, which the agency said would
correspond to a drinking-water concentration of 1 part per
billion based on certain assumptions about body weight
and daily water consumption," the Academy noted.

It also said that although there is clear evidence the chemical
can dampen thyroid function, leading to a serious condition
called hypothyroidism, there was not enough evidence to show
it could lead to thyroid cancer, as the EPA has suggested.

"Scientists at the EPA, in state agencies, and in academia
have all concluded that very low levels of perchlorate threaten
the health of babies," said NRDC scientist Jennifer Sass.

"Scientists should not be strong-armed by unqualified, partisan
bureaucrats and corporate polluters to skew the evidence."

The NRDC said federal agencies had tried to influence the
report's conclusions and published documents that it said
showed just how extensive the government's attempts were.

"The Defense Department's job is to protect Americans,
not threaten our health, but these documents show that
it is conspiring with its contractors and the White House
to twist the science and avoid cleaning up a chemical that
threatens our children's health," said NRDC lawyer Erik Olson.

"We've never seen such a brazen campaign to pressure
the National Academy of Sciences to downplay the hazards
of a chemical, but it fits the pattern of this administration
manipulating science at the expense of public health," the
NRDC said.

White House and EPA officials were not available for comment.

The National Academy of Sciences report said perchlorate had
been discovered in 35 states and more than 11 million people
have "perchlorate in their drinking water at concentrations
of 4 parts per billion or higher."

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"Illnesses Linked To Russian Launch Facility"

*Date:* Tuesday, January 18 2005 @ 04:31:43 PST
*Topic:* News

Children living near the world's oldest space launch station
suffer from high rates of hormonal problems and blood
disorders.

The rates of disease close to the Baikonur Cosmodrome
in Kazakhstan have more thandoubled in some cases, the
journal Nature reports.

The Siberian study, which has not been published but was
leaked to Nature, was rejected by the Russian space agency.

In the study, researchers said unburned hydrazine fuel, which
is released during the early stages of take-off, was to blame.

Fabio Caramelli, an engineer at the European Space Research
and Technology Center, said the fuel was "nasty and toxic".

"A tablespoon of hydrazine in a swimming pool would kill anyone
who drank the water," Caramelli said.

According to BBC News, the launch facility - which Russia now
rents from Kazakhstan - was built in the 1950s as a missile
testing facility but is now one of the world's largest launch sites.

It is the embarkation point for missions to the International Space
Station now and, in 1961, Yuri Gagarin made history by becoming
the first man to orbit the Earth after taking-off from the facility.

Sergey Zykov, from Vector, the State Research Center of Virology
and Biotechnology in Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, led the
team which looked at the effect of the fuel on 1,000 children in the
country's Altai Republic, which lies in the path of fuel contamination
from the rockets.

Children from the worst affected areas were up to twice as likely
to require medical attention during 1998 to 2000 compared to the
records of 330 children from unpolluted areas.

Zykov told Nature he had discussed the problem with officials
from Rosaviakosmos, the Russian space agency, but they
had a negative attitude to studies conducted outside their
agency.

*Intellpuke: * "How could the old Soviet, or current Kazakhstan
regimes have allowed people to live that close to an active
launch facility? And why is it that children seem to pay the
highest prices for man's pigsty approach to progress?

This article comes from Free Internet Press
http://freeinternetpress.com

The URL for this story is:
http://freeinternetpress.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=2746