What is Perchlorate?

Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring as well as a manufactured inorganic chemical. It acts as an oxidizer in the production of explosives and rocket propellants for munitions (mortars, grenades, and solid rocket fuel).

Where is Perchlorate Found?

The perchlorate anion (ClO⁻₄) is found as a contaminant in the environment due to the improper disposal of solid salts of potassium, ammonium, or sodium perchlorate. Perchlorate residues are being observed with increasing frequency in soils, waters, and even foods. It is known as a persistent toxicant and can remain in water and soils for long periods.

Are Perchlorate Salts Hazardous?

The presence of perchlorate in food and water is a potential health concern as it can impair the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Perchlorate is similar to the iodide ion and interferes with the absorption of iodide by the thyroid gland.

Perchlorate in Food

Food can also contain perchlorate if it is irrigated or processed with contaminated water or was grown in contaminated soil. A significant level of perchlorate has been found in food products like lettuce, milk, and bottled water. Some plants, especially leafy vegetables, have been found to have high levels of perchlorate.

What is Perchlorate Discharge Test?

A perchlorate discharge test is conducted to show how well the thyroid gland in an individual’s neck takes up iodine. It is used to diagnose certain thyroid conditions.

How to Avoid Exposure to Perchlorate?

Treatment technologies used for removing perchlorate from groundwater include bioreactors, ion exchange, and in-situ bioremediation. As for food, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid perchlorate, but one can reduce its potential effects by ensuring sufficient iodine intake.

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