Perchlorate Study Group

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The Perchlorate Study Group (PSG) is comprised of manufacturers and users of the chemical perchlorate, including Aerojet, American Pacific Corporation, Kerr-McGee Chemical, and Lockheed Martin. [1] Its chair is Mike Girard. A subset of PSG members comprise the Council on Water Quality, which also calls into questions the danger of perchlorate in drinking water. [2]

PSG has funded studies into the effect of perchlorate, an ingredient of rocket fuel, and organized seminars attended by academic and government scientists. The National Resources Defense Council characterized a joint PSG / Department of Defense conference called "Perchlorate: State of the Science" as "one-sided." According to NRDC, an "extensive summary of the conference" provided to the U.S. federal government's National Academy of Sciences "claims to represent the 'consensus' view of 'independent' scientists." [3]

In December 2004, it was reported that "a news story about a study of 37 healthy adults exposed to perchlorate" for Environmental Health Perspectives, the journal of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Services was edited by a PSG consultant without the author's knowledge. Gay Goodman of the Seattle, Washington-based consulting company Intertox edited the article while was being paid by PSG. Intertox director Richard Pleus wrote that the original article "was potentially very damaging" to PSG. [4]

California's Press-Enterprise reported that material deleted from the original article included "details of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's concerns about how perchlorate could harm neurological development of fetuses and how studies of animals supported the EPA's position," along with a "disclosure that the Perchlorate Study Group co-sponsored the research." Moreover, "The article ran under the headline, 'Reprieve for Perchlorate. Effects Not a Significant Concern,' a statement reflecting industry's position on the chemical." [5]

In June 2005, a follow-up story in the Press-Enterprise detailed growing criticisms of the PSG-sponsored study published in 2002 by Environmental Health Perspectives. The study as published, co-authored by Dr. Monte Greer and Richard Pleus, did not disclose that, at so-called "safe" or "no-effect" levels, "perchlorate could have inhibited thyroid function in at least two people recruited for the study." But independent analyses of the study's data by the Environmental Protection Agency and health officials in California, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine suggest that perchlorate affects thyroid function at lower levels, especially in "fetuses, infants and people with impaired thyroids." The head of the air and water toxics division for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Michael S. Hutcheson, said, "Something is going on there that gives us pause. We have not been comfortable to think of it as a no-effect level." [6]

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