ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Perchlorates
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CAS ID #: 10034-81-8, 7778-74-7, 7790-98-9, 7601-89-0, 7791-03-9

Affected Organ Systems: Endocrine (Glands and Hormones)

Cancer Classification: EPA: Not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. IARC: Not evaluated. NTP: Not evaluated

Please contact NTP, IARC, or EPA’s IRIS Hotline with questions on cancer and cancer classification.

Chemical Classification: None

Summary: Perchlorates are colorless salts that have no odor. There are five perchlorate salts that are manufactured in large amounts: magnesium perchlorate, potassium perchlorate, ammonium perchlorate, sodium perchlorate, and lithium perchlorate. Perchlorate salts are solids that dissolve easily in water. The health effects of perchlorate salts are due to the perchlorate itself and not to the other component (i.e., magnesium, ammonium, potassium, etc.). One place where perchlorate occurs naturally is in saltpeter deposits in Chile, where the saltpeter is used to make fertilizer. In the past, the United States used a lot of this fertilizer on tobacco plants, but now uses very little. Perchlorates are very reactive chemicals that are used mainly in explosives, fireworks, and rocket motors. The solid booster rocket of the space shuttle is almost 70% ammonium perchlorate. Perchlorates are also used for making other chemicals. Many years ago, perchlorate was used as a medication to treat an over-reactive thyroid gland.

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  • Addendum to the Profile (PDF, 172KB)

    Addendum for Toxicological Profile for Perchlorates (October 2008)

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