Water ban in California raises questions about thyroid disrupting contaminates

Health officials recently lifted a ban on water use in half of Barstow, California, as the local utility continued to flush its system of perchlorate - a chemical used in rocket fuel and munitions that can lead to thyroid disruption - that authorities said may have contaminated the city water supply for months, the Los Angeles Times reports.

State health experts do not believe the perchlorate exposure will have any effect on residents, even those considered at high risk, such as pregnant women and people with thyroid conditions, said Al Lundeen, a spokesman for the public health agency.

Test results that prompted the water ban and a state of emergency in the San Bernardino County town came from samples that were taken at neighboring Marine Corps Logistics Base in August. They verified last week, triggering an area-wide "do not drink" order.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when perchlorate enters the body it can block the thyroid gland from taking up iodine. The thyroid gland needs iodine to make the thyroid hormones that regulate how the body uses energy. 

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