Perchlorate perchloric acid | Environmental contaminator

Perchlorate perchloric acid is a chemical compound that contains one chlorine atom and four oxygen atoms ions. Commercial-scale perchlorate ions are produced in an extra amount. It contaminates food, water, and the environment.

These effects the health of humans. It decreases the production of thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. Perchlorate is mostly present in solid form. Solid perchlorate is soluble in water. But some of them are also soluble in nonaqueous solutions. the acid produced from perchlorate is called perchloric acid.

Synthesis Perchlorate acid

Its solid are specially synthesized in industries. Oxidation of sodium chocolate by the process of electrolysis to synthesize sodium perchlorate. Rocket fuel is prepared. The reaction of bases with per-chloric acid produces salt e.g ammonium hydroxide. Perchlorate has been seen in rain and snow.

Applications of Perchlorate perchloric acid

It has many uses. Some of them are given below.

  1. It is used in rockets and fireworks as propellants.
  2. It is used in industries to make matches.
  3. It is used in the packaging of food.
  4. Potassium perchlorate is used to treat Graves’ disease. It promotes the production of thyroid hormones.

Natural abundance Perchlorate perchloric acid

Perchlorate also occurs in nature. It is deposit with sodium nitrate. This deposit is put out for the fertilizer as nitrates form. It is estimated that from 100,000 – 3,000,000 tons are present on earth. It is present in seawater, under groundwater, ice, and deserts.

Mars and Perchlorate

Perchlorate is found on Mars by the analysis of the wet chemical of Mars soil. Three samples were taken from the Mars soil. Two samples were taken from the surface and one from the depth of 2 inches. These samples were brought in a chemistry lab and examine it.

In sample 60% calcium perchlorate and 40% magnesium perchlorate. Both these salts are made from perchlorate. Both acts as antifreeze and Also decrease the freezing point of water. The salt solution is present in liquid form in the summer season only a few hours on Mars.

Environmental contamination by Perchlorate acid

Perchlorate impact on ecosystems due to its uncertain toxic nature and present in drinking water. And it also affects the health of organisms. It accumulates in fruits and vegetables caused diseases. Perchlorate is soluble in water and its particles are mobile in aqueous solution.

Perchlorate is present in groundwater-surface water. Perchlorate is originated from rocket propellants, herbicides, an agent of bleach, disinfectants, etc. It is also produced by the synthesis of fuel of rocket and fireworks. By removing and recovering of the perchlorate required high-pressure wash out of water that gives ammonium perchlorate in aqueous form.

Perchlorate in drinking water

In 26 states of U.S. perchlorate are present in water ( both surface and groundwater pollution and also in drinking water contamination ) by the suggestion of EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Perchlorate affects human health and other animals and plants. It causes many types of diseases.

Presence of perchlorate in food

Perchlorate was found in the milk of cows in California. This level was 1.3ppb (parts per billion ) in 2004. This chemical entered into the cows from feeding crops and drinking water. It was also determined in human milk in 2005 (an average of 10.5 micrograms per liter). Perchlorate also passed in human milk through eating fruits, vegetables, and water, etc.

The occurrence of perchlorate in minerals and other natural resources

Perchlorate is present naturally in some places where there are no definite resources. Natural perchlorate first observed in Desert of Atacama in Chile on earth in 1980. It released from Chilean nitrate for the production of fertilizer. Also, groundwater is a big source of perchlorate in the United States (U.S.).Later the technique of Chromatography was developed for separation purposes.

Perchlorate in Fertilizer

Perchlorate also presents in Fertilizers. Perchlorate contamination is determined in the using of fertilizer and its agent seeped into the groundwater. Fertilizer loss perchlorate anions and combined with groundwater and cause water pollution in many regions of the United States (U.S.).Perchlorate agents are derived from fertilizer due to calcium carbonate.

 Separation | Cleaning of perchlorate acid

There are many processes to emits the contamination of perchlorate. But they are highly costly. So there are struggles between the technologists to find out the easy and less costly way of cleaning.

Treatment (in situ and ex-situ techniques)

Many technologies are present for removing perchlorate by in situ and ex-situ


In situ treatment

In situ treatment involved ion-exchanged contamination are attracted and not attract the resins due to opposite charges. The reason is that due to opposite charges ion contaminants adhere to the resin and another ion is expelled in the water will be treated. In situ treatment technology has many advantages like to treat perchlorate. But it does not good for the treatment of chlorine solvent.

Ex-situ treatment

It is an ion-exchange treatment using selective perchlorate OR specific nitrate resins by using electrolysis and osmosis techniques. In ex situ treatment adsorption of carbon in the liquid phase and GAC are used to separation of perchlorate`s low level.

Effect on Health

Thyroid hormones inhibition

Perchlorate affects the thyroid gland and inhibits the production of thyroid hormones. But in case of goiter or hyperthyroidism are used to treat. Perchlorate is related to iodine in the thyroid gland. The maximum concentration of perchlorate stops the production of thyroid hormones. If iodine is not present in food cause goiter.

So it treats the goiter. In adult’s thyroid, the gland produces thyroid hormones for balancing the metabolism but in the child thyroid gland not produce thyroid hormones so metabolism not maintain.

It only affects thyroid gland hormone-like thyroid hormones. The reason is that this hormone not metabolized and store. Its effect on the thyroid gland is reversible, so its effects on the brain.

Perchlorate affects on lung 

Perchlorate effect on lungs seriously. It was first examined in rabbit trachea tissue. It was observed when perchlorate is applied to the trachea tissue of the rabbit. And compare with the control group.

Reviewed by:
Dr. Muhammad Tahir Ph.D. (PU)
Post Doctorate
American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

See Also:

Ocean dumping | Dirtiest sea every day

Soda Lake | Alkaline nature of lake water

Non point source pollution | multiple sources of pollution

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