LUBBOCK, Texas – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday that it awarded $2,499,579 in research grant funding to Texas Tech University for research on the behavior of perchlorate after fireworks events near water sources, said a press release.

Perchlorate is a chemical used in explosives, flares and fireworks. Increases in the use of fireworks have caused concern for perchlorate waters that serve as sources of drinking water, said the press release. Perchlorate can be a health concern because certain levels of the chemical in drinking water sources can interfere with functions of the thyroid gland. 

Texas Tech will evaluate impacts of perchlorate on six drinking water sources across the U.S., said the press release. The results of the project will be given to states and utilities and could be used to determine whether any actions are needed to reduce exposure of perchlorate in drinking water.

“Protecting our water resources and ensuring clean drinking water is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “With this research grant, Texas Tech University will be able to provide states and utilities with further knowledge on how to protect drinking water from perchlorate contamination.”