Development of freshwater water-quality criteria for perchlorate

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Journal: Environ Toxicol Chem 2004/09/21
Published: 2004
Authors: Dean, K. E.;Palachek, R. M.;Noel, J. M.;Warbritton, R.;Aufderheide, J.;Wireman, J.
Address: Parsons, 8000 Centre Park Drive, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78754, USA. kirk.dean@parsons.com

The anion perchlorate (ClO4-) is an oxidizing component commonly used in solid propellants for rockets and missiles; in explosives, flares, fireworks, chemical processes, and automobile air-bag inflators; and for other assorted uses. With recent advances in analytical detection capability, perchlorate has been found in a variety of ground and surface waters throughout the United States. Because perchlorate has been associated with thyroid problems in humans and may have similar effects on wildlife, it is desirable to develop a water-quality criterion to assist in identifying concentrations of perchlorate in water likely to pose an ecological health risk. In the present study, we compiled all available data regarding the effects of perchlorate to aquatic organisms, and we performed additional toxicity and bioconcentration tests as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) for the development of water-quality criteria for aquatic life. A criterion maximum concentration of 20 mg/L and a criterion continuous concentration of 9.3 mg/L were calculated based on the test results. Although these are not formal Clean Water Act Section 304(a) criteria, which must be published by the U.S. EPA, these criteria may be useful in the determination of remedial action levels for contaminated sites, for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit limits, and other water-quality management practices.

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