Perchlorate is a potential carcinogen and it has been shown to interfere with the iodide uptake in the thyroid gland limiting the ability to produce thyroid hormones.  Recent studies indicate developmental growth effects at low concentrations, particularly to the development of the nervous system. Perchlorate salts are extremely water soluble and have the ability to migrate into the water table from spills and releases to air, soil and water.

Perchlorate salts such as ammonium perchlorate are a key ingredient in solid rocket propellants used in munitions, aerospace materials, fireworks and common batteries. They have also been used in the electroplating industry and in some chemical fertilizers.

Naturally occurring nitrate salts also contain perchlorate as found in Chilean saltpetre which is used in fertiliser products.  Other sources of perchlorate include sodium hypochlorite solutions used in water and wastewater treatment plants and bleaching powders.

In the US perchlorate has been detected in a large protion of the water supply following studies carried out between 1998 and 2005.  In 2009 an interim drinking water health advisory level of 15ug/l was published in the US following recommendations from the National Research Council and adoption by the USEPA

The release and migration of perchlorate from contaminated land can be rapid, as rainwater leaches the salts into the ground and eventually into the water table.  Elevated levels of perchlorate have been encountered around military ranges and ammunition production sites.

Elevated releases of perchlorate can occur as a result of large scale use of propellant materials such as in the launch of rockets and in the use of fireworks during festivities. Recently, interest has been sparked in the uptake of perchlorate through other dietary sources such as fruits and vegetables as well as through the consumption of dairy products. 

RPS can analysis for the presence of perchlorate in water, soil, vegetables, dairy, products and many other matrices.

Typical reporting limits

  • Baby food 20ug/Kg
  • Fruits and Vegetables 0.1-1 mg/Kg
  • Water 5-10 ug/L
  • Soil 1mg/Kg

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