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Category Press Release
Publish Date 5/11/2016
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Low Levels of Perchlorate in Montgomery County Drinking Water has Residents Concerned
Introduction EMSL Analytical offers testing services and sampling supplies to identify drinking water contaminants from public and private water systems.

Charlotte, NC, May 11th, 2016

Recently, the Richmond Times-Dispatch published a report about trace amounts of perchlorate that were found in two public drinking water systems. Both water systems are in Virginia’s Montgomery County.

The article also states that Montgomery County is home to a facility that provides propellants used in munitions supplied to the U.S. military. Perchlorate is a chemical used in items such as rocket fuel, fireworks, road flares and explosives. It also forms naturally in the environment in small amounts.

Perchlorate is highly soluble in water so it can enter surface and groundwater where it can last an extended period of time. Extensive groundwater plumes of the chemical have occurred in some areas across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the human health effects from perchlorate at low environmental exposures are unknown. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that short-term exposure to high doses may cause eye and skin irritation, coughing, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The agency also reports that the thyroid gland is the primary target of perchlorate toxicity in humans, disrupting the functions of the thyroid and potentially leading to a reduction in the production of thyroid hormones.

“In addition to people being exposed to perchlorate by drinking contaminated water, exposure can also occur by ingesting contaminated food, breathing contaminated dust or touching contaminated soil,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Various fruits and vegetables with high water content can contain elevated levels of the chemical if those plants have taken up contaminated water. Even cows may eat food containing perchlorate and pass it on in their milk if they graze in contaminated areas.”

To help identify chemical contaminants in water, food, soil, dust and air, EMSL Analytical offers comprehensive testing services and sampling supplies. They also recently sponsored an educational video about perchlorate and potential exposure concerns that can be seen at:

To learn more about environmental, occupational, health and safety testing services, please visit, call (800) 220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

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