Shocking: How rocket-fuel-tainted tap water wrecks your thyroid

I know a few people who still drink unfiltered tap water.

They think paying extra money for bottled water or a water filtration system is silly. And they think people who don’t want to drink out of the tap are just being high maintenance.

But there’s a good reason a lot of health-conscious folks refuse to drink from the tap unless they absolutely have to…

Tap water is full of contaminants that pose a threat to your health.

A 2009 study published by the nonprofit environmental research organization The Environmental Working Group found that tap water contains 316 contaminants, including industrial solvents, weed killers, refrigerants and a chemical used to make rocket fuel known as perchlorate. And even now, more than a decade later, the EPA has chosen not to regulate many of these chemicals despite the fact that they are proven to harm human health.

Take perchlorate, for example…

This chemical used in rocket fuel, flares and fireworks is in millions of people’s water supplies. Much of the perchlorate in the water supply came from large aerospace contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Aerojet.

But not only has the EPA failed to get these corporations to clean up their mess, the current EPA chief has also refused to set any limit on perchlorate in water. And that’s not because it’s totally safe to drink in any quantity…

It’s linked to brain damage in infants and children and causes hormonal imbalances by impeding an incredibly important gland — the thyroid. In fact, a new study shows exactly how this pervasive chemical takes a toll on your thyroid health…

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Perchlorate blocks iodine your thyroid needs

A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Irvine identified the exact way perchlorate damages the thyroid and leads to conditions like hypothyroidism.

In the study, researchers figured out that perchlorate blocks the pathway iodide (the negatively charged form of iodine) uses to enter thyroid cells. You see, iodide typically flows down a protein channel called the sodium/iodide symporter. There are two sites in the channel that sodium binds to, opening the channel up so iodide can come through and get into thyroid cells.

Perchlorate, however, latches on to this critical channel and impacts its shape. This prevents sodium from binding to it properly, which means the channel isn’t open for iodide to pass through and enter thyroid cells.

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Now, in case you don’t know, your thyroid needs iodine to make hormones that your body uses to regulate your metabolism, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and perform other important functions.

So, the fact that perchlorate is blocking your thyroid from getting enough iodine is alarming to say the least. But you know what’s even more alarming?

Researchers tested a variety of concentrations of perchlorate and found that it took a very low concentration of perchlorate to impact this critical mechanism in your thyroid. So, even small amounts of this chemical in your drinking water could be triggering serious thyroid problems.

Getting perchlorate out of your drinking water

If you want to find out if your tap water contains perchlorate, contact your local water supplier. If you get water from a private well, you’ll have to get your water tested yourself. If perchlorate is present, you should seriously consider getting a home filtration system, if you don’t have one already.

Unfortunately, many of the water filtration options available don’t remove perchlorate. Pitcher-style water filters, for example, don’t remove perchlorate.

Reverse osmosis filters, however, do remove perchlorate. But be warned… these are whole-house filtration systems that can cost a pretty penny. Before you buy one, make sure it reduces 130 ppb perchlorates to 4 ppb or less. That’s the standard for perchlorate filtration set by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).


  1. Something in the water: Pollutant may be more hazardous than previously thought — EurekAlert!
  2. NYT: Trump EPA Won’t Limit Rocket Fuel Chemical in Drinking Water — Environmental Working Group.
  3. Perchlorate in Drinking Water Frequent Questions — United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  4. How To Protect Yourself From America’s ‘New’ Drinking Water Toxins — Forbes.
  5. Don’t drink the rocket fuel! Water filters that remove perchlorate are few —


Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and