Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dear NASA, Do Your Rockets Pollute?

Sometime ago my wife and I attended a JPL open house. My wife got into quite a heated arguement with one of the scientists concerning the amount of pollution that their rockets put into our environment. The reason she asked, was that the display reported that a great amount of rocket fuel is not even burned in a blast off. He vigoursly defended himself, but the numbers spoke for themselves.

And now... this story today in papers across the country. Pretty scary. What excuse will they use? How will they explain this away?

"Scientists on Tuesday reported that perchlorate, a toxic component of rocket fuel, was contaminating virtually all samples of women's breast milk and its levels were found to be, on average, five times greater than in cow's milk.

The contaminant, which originates mostly at defense industry plants, previously had been detected in various food and water supplies around the country. But the study by Texas Tech University's Institute of Environmental and Human Health was the first to investigate breast milk.

The findings concern health experts because infants and fetuses are the most vulnerable to the thyroid-impairing effects of the chemical.

Breast milk from 36 women in 18 states, including California, was sampled, and all contained traces of perchlorate.

Perchlorate blocks the nutrient iodide and inhibits thyroid hormones, which are necessary for brain development and cellular growth of a fetus or infant. A baby with impaired thyroid development may have neurological defects that result in lower IQ or learning disabilities."

I have nothing against space exploration. But when our tax dollars pay for faulty and harmful science, when should we stop it? Not only are they keeping results from the tax paying public, they're now polluting and harming our children.

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