Perchlorate is NOT Perchlorethylene

What is Perchlorate?

Perchlorate is a simple salt compound made up of chlorine and oxygen. It is both naturally occurring and can be man-made.

How is perchlorate used?

  • It was used as a medicine to treat thyroid disorders for decades.
  • Because of its high oxygen content it is also used as an oxidizer in:
    • Air Bags
    • Road Flares
    • Solid Rocket Fuel
    • Explosives
    • Matches

What are the health affects of perchlorate?

  • Perchlorate is eliminated from the body quickly and does not accumulate.
  • At very high levels, perchlorate can affect thyroid function, but it takes extremely high amounts and prolonged exposure before there is a risk of any adverse effects. Any effects from perchlorate are also reversible once exposure declines or stops.
  • Perchlorate does not cause cancer or birth defects.

What is Perchlorethylene?

According to the Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration, perchloroethylene has many names, including tetrachloroethylene, perc, PCE and tetrachloroethene. It is a manufactured chemical compound, most recognizable as a nonflammable liquid at room temperature. It evaporates easily into the air and has a sharp, sweet odor.

How is perchlorethylene used?

  • Perchlorethylene is a colorless, organic solvent used in dry-cleaning solutions and as an industrial solvent.
  • It is also used to degrease metal parts in the automotive and other metalworking industries. It appears in a few consumer products including paint strippers and spot removers.

What are the health affects of perchlorethylene?

  • Perchlorethylene is a central nervous system depressant. Inhaling its vapors in closed, poorly ventilated areas can cause dizziness, headache, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, difficulty in speaking and walking, and unconsciousness.
  • Those who work regularly with perchlorethylene may experience severe skin irritation from prolonged or excessive contact.