Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical. It is used in a wide variety of industrial processes and pyrotechnics. Wastes from the manufacture and improper disposal of perchlorate-containing chemicals are increasingly being found in soil and water. It has been discovered in water in more than 20 states in the U.S. and has been found in water samples taken from wells in Bergen County including Upper Saddle River.
Ingested perchlorate at sufficient levels interferes with the iodide uptake into the thyroid gland, disrupting thyroid functions in adults and children. While there is currently no standard for perchlorate, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recommends that people avoid drinking water known through confirmed testing to contain more than 5ppb of perchlorate. Boiling may increase the perchlorate concentration so cooking with water with a high perchlorate level is not recommended, however, contaminated water is safe for showering, bathing or washing clothes.