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Anal Chim Acta. 2006 May 10;567(1):33-8. Epub 2006 Mar 6.

Potential perchlorate exposure from Citrus sp. irrigated with contaminated water.

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Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Sciences, Yuma Agricultural Center, The University of Arizona, Yuma, AZ 85364, USA.


Citrus produced in the southwestern United States is often irrigated with perchlorate-contaminated water. This irrigation water includes Colorado River water which is contaminated with perchlorate from a manufacturing plant previously located near the Las Vegas Wash, and ground water from wells in Riverside and San Bernardino counties of California which are affected by a perchlorate plume associated with an aerospace facility once located near Redlands, California. Studies were conducted to evaluate the uptake and distribution of perchlorate in citrus irrigated with contaminated water, and estimate potential human exposure to perchlorate from the various citrus types including lemon (Citrus limon), grapefruit (Citrus paradise), and orange (Citrus sinensis) produced in the region. Perchlorate concentrations ranged from less than 2-9 microg/L for Colorado River water and from below detection to approximately 18 microg/L for water samples from wells used to irrigate citrus. Destructive sampling of lemon trees produced with Colorado River water show perchlorate concentrations larger in the leaves (1835 microg/kg dry weight (dw)) followed by the fruit (128 microg/kg dw). Mean perchlorate concentrations in roots, trunk, and branches were all less than 30 microg/kg dw. Fruit pulp analyzed in the survey show perchlorate concentrations ranged from below detection limit to 38 microg/kg fresh weight (fw), and were related to the perchlorate concentration of irrigation water. Mean hypothetical exposures (mug/person/day) of children and adults from lemons (0.005 and 0.009), grapefruit (0.03 and 0.24), and oranges (0.51 and 1.20) were estimated. These data show that potential perchlorate exposures from citrus in the southwestern United States are negligible relative to the reference dose recommended by the National Academy of Sciences.


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