Preliminary assessment of perchlorate in ecological receptors at the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant (LHAAP), karnack, Texas

Philip N. Smith, Christopher W. Theodorakis, Todd A. Anderson, Ronald J. Kendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


There have been increasing human health and ecological concerns about ionic perchlorate (ClO4-) since it was detected in drinking water sources in 1997. Perchlorate is known to affect thyroid function, causing subsequent hormone disruption and potential perturbations of metabolic activities. According to current estimates, perchlorate is found in the surface or groundwater of 14 states, including Texas. Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant, located in east central Texas, was a facility historically associated with perchlorate-containing propellants and rocket motors. Subsequently, perchlorate contamination in ground and surface waters at the facility has been reported. Soil, sediment, water, vegetation, and animal tissue samples were collected from several locations within the plant for a preliminary site assessment of perchlorate contamination. Perchlorate concentrations ranged from 555-5,557,000 ppb in vegetation, 811-2038 ppb in aquatic insects, below detection limits (ND) to 207 ppb in fish, ND-580 ppb in frogs, and ND-2328 ppb in mammals. Consistent with our hypothesis, aquatic organisms inhabiting perchlorate-contaminated surface water bodies contained detectable concentrations of perchlorate. Additionally, terrestrial organisms were exposed through pathways not necessarily related to contaminated surface waters. Therefore, these data demonstrate that aquatic and terrestrial species are exposed to perchlorate in the environment. To our knowledge, this represents the first incidence of perchlorate exposure among wild animals reported in the scientific literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


  • Amphibians
  • Body burden
  • Ecological receptor
  • Fish
  • Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant
  • Mammals
  • Perchlorate
  • Plants
  • Wildlife


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