Millions of Americans are regularly drinking water and eating foods and drink that have been contaminated by rocket fuel. It's coming from the country's 12,000 military bases, where fuel seepage is going unchecked, and has done so for years.
The water supply in 22 states is contaminated by perchlorate, the toxic chemical found in the fuel, while farms and dairy farms near the military bases are shipping contaminated produce across the States. A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) survey has found that 93 per cent of all lettuce and milk sold in the US is contaminated.
A new study prepared by the Environmental Working Group reveals that 2 million women who are iodine deficient are at special risk from the contamination. Perchlorate may cause a drop in their thyroid hormone levels, which is a risk factor in fetal development.
But it seems to be a pollutant that's affecting most people in the US. A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in which urine samples were taken from 2,299 people around the country, discovered that everyone, with exception, had unacceptably high levels of perchlorate in their bodies.
It's a problem that's been known about for years, yet even now the military, supported by President Bush, are seeking exemption from any clean-up or control.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report back in 2002 that identified the military bases as the source of the pollution, and it's known that Lockheed Martin, the defence contractor, had been concealing documents about the contamination for some years.
Despite this, the Department of Defense and the Pentagon argue that the military should be exempt from any controls as it must be 'ready' for anti-terrorist activity, and the fuel is an essential part of that operation.
A sympathetic President Bush put a gag order on the EPA in 2003, and prevented it from talking about perchlorate and its effect on human health.
Perhaps now, with the shift in political opinion, more will realise that the greatest threat comes from within.
(Sources: Environmental Working Group website; Organic Consumers Association website).