Another Endocrine Disruptor: Perchlorate

Continuing with my previous theme of fire and toxins, and also looking at another endocrine disrupter, we find this one was invented by chemists during World War Two, as part of rocket propulsion experiments by military weapons makers. Indeed, the military have used this component in rocket propelled weapons ever since, and in space exploration rockets. Only now is Perchlorate not as prominent as it was as rocket propulsion has ‘advanced’.

Definition: Perchlorate is a chemical utilized as a part of the assembling of explosives and rocket propellants for the aerospace, defense, and many other industries. Low levels of ammonium perchlorate collect naturally in the environment.

Perchlorate is categorized as a goitrogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), since at abnormal levels, it can meddle with the thyroid’s capacity to uptake iodide and in this way influence hormone generation.4 Thyroid hormones play a key role in the development and furtherance of the central nervous system of fetuses and newborn children. As indicated by the National Research Council, pregnant women, babies, kids, and individuals with iodine-inadequate weight control plans or prior thyroid problems might be more vulnerable to perchlorate than the general public.1 link found here.

Back in 2006, according to this site,

A new analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control indicates that a toxic chemical in rocket fuel has severely contaminated the nation’s food and water supply (read the Environmental Working Group study here).Scientists warn that the chemical, known as perchlorate, could cause thyroid deficiency in more than 2.2 million women of childbearing age.

The EPA testing of water in states in the US believe perchlorate no longer is present in drinking water to any worrying degree. But what happened to the health of those people who did experience the problem back in the early 2000s?

According to a recent study:

The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for thyroid cancer in the United States for 2021 are:

  • About 44,280 new cases of thyroid cancer (12,150 in men and 32,130 in women)
  • About 2,200 deaths from thyroid cancer (1,050 men and 1,150 women)

The death rate for thyroid cancer increased slightly from 2009 to 2018 (0.6% per year) but appears to have stabilized in recent years. Statistics on survival rates for thyroid cancer are discussed in Survival Rates for Thyroid Cancer.

Because of modern systems such as MRI and CT Scans, it is believed more cases can be spotted than could have been found in previous years.

But a pleasing firework display will similarly spew out perchlorate which will end up in groundwater, and these pyrotechnics are used all over the world.

This site explains the efforts being made to tackle the pollution from pyrotechnics. But also tells us how we have unknowingly watched fascinating displays not understanding the contamination implications:

Like other things in need of a combustive blast (think: matches, military explosives and rocket fuel), fireworks rely on a chemical called perchlorate, now known to be a powerful thyroid toxicant. In some locales (including explosives factories, military grounds where there is prolonged or repeated blasting, and yes – favored sites for firework displays) perchlorate can be found in groundwater and surface waters where it tends to persist in potentially toxic concentrations.

The above author recommends this site, by Andy Brunning I have republished his graphic which clearly explains the process.

If perchlorate is found in your drinking water, Reverse osmosis systems can be purchased to fit under the sink. If you can afford this, see

Reverse Osmosis

Under-sink Reverse Osmosis Systems, and whole-house/business purification systems like the Pureoflow, can provide about 95% rejection of Perchlorates. For extremely high levels, a specialty Ion Exchange polishing filter might be required after the RO to achieve very low levels.

If you cannot afford the system, be sure you can get reassurance from a test of your water that it does not contain this dangerous substance.

About borderslynn

Retired, living in the Scottish Borders after living most of my life in cities in England. I can now indulge my interest in all aspects of living close to nature in a wild landscape. I live on what was once the Iapetus Ocean which took millions of years to travel from the Southern Hemisphere to here in the Northern Hemisphere. That set me thinking and questioning and seeking answers. In 1998 I co-wrote Millennium Countdown (US)/ A Business Guide to the Year 2000 (UK) see
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