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By HHI Staff

Perchlorate is the primary ingredient in rocket and missile fuel. It is also used in the production of flares, fireworks, explosives, batteries, lubricating oils, paint, enamel and rubber and in the processing of leather, paper, pulp and aluminum.


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As a pollutant, perchlorate is found in groundwater, surface water and soil and has proven to be a pervasive contaminant of agricultural and manufactured food products. Conservative estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency show perchlorate is present in 4% of the nation’s public drinking water systems; studies done by state governments and other organizations indicate a higher rate of contamination.

To date, the known impact on human health resulting from perchlorate exposure is the chemical’s interference with iodide uptake by the thyroid gland. In adults, impairment of the thyroid function impacts the metabolism and hormone production; for infants and children disruption of thyroid functions can affect development of the brain and may cause neuro-developmental disabilities. 

The EPA has declined to regulate perchlorate but has issued a recommendation that safe levels of perchlorate in drinking water should not exceed 15 parts per billion. Individual states, including California and Massachusetts, have imposed more stringent standards.

To know if your water may contain perchlorate and, if so, at what levels, contact your local water supply company and state authorities responsible for environmental oversight.


  • California Department of Public Health
  • EPA
Interim Drinking Water Health Advisory
For Perchlorate
December 2008, EPA 822-R-08-25
  • Environment California
Perchlorate and Children's Health: The Case for a Strong Cleanup Standard for Rocket Fuel in Drinking Water 2005-01-10


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Perchlorate:  Created on December 20th, 2009.  Last Modified on December 25th, 2009


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