About Perchlorates

Perchlorate Formula Diagram (ClO4-)

Perchlorates are salts derived from perchloric acid, a monobasic acid stronger than sulfuric and nitric acids and an exceptionally powerful oxidizer. This high reactivity makes perchloric acid and many of its derivitives exceedingly useful in a variety of industrial processes, though it also dictates that these compounds should be handled with care. Alone, the perchlorate salts will not catch fire or explode, but in combination with organic compounds can serve as rocket fuel or pyrotechnic agents. Perchlorates are additionally found in airbags, tire pressure monitor valve sensors, and some batteries. Perchlorates are known to have pronounced biological effects, particularly on the thyroid gland in humans. This is useful in the context of hyperthyroidism, as perchlorates can inhibit the overproduction of thyroid hormones, though this is no longer the primary method available for treating this condition. However, perchlorates have other potential negative effects on biological systems, and perchlorate contamination from industrial use of these chemicals is a significant environmental problem.