worst special effects: perchlorate

Perchlorate likes to get things started with a bang! She’s been typecast in action roles starring as an oxidizer in rocket fuel, explosives, airbags and fireworks. As ammonium perchlorate, she is also a major component of solid rocket fuel. Her performances as a bad actor chemical interfere with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism in mothers and negatively impacting proper childhood development such as decreased learning capability.

While no one denies Perchlorate’s ability to light up the sky and screen, her “special effects” aren’t contained…she’s made her way into the drinking water for tens of millions of Californians, and into the groundwater or soil of 43 states.


  • Perchlorate adversely affects human health by interfering with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland. In adults, the thyroid gland helps regulate the metabolism by releasing hormones, while in children the thyroid gland helps in proper development.
  • In the first study to look for perchlorate in California supermarket milk, Environmental Working Group found perchlorate in 31 out of 32 samples purchased from grocery stores in Los Angeles and Orange counties and in all 32 samples of milk collected in Alameda, Sacramento, and San Joaquin counties.
  • Perchlorate has been manufactured at two facilities near Henderson, Nevada from World War II to the present. Considerable amounts of perchlorate were discharged in the liquid wastes from the facilities into unlined evaporation ponds. The groundwater in the vicinity of the industrial complex has been contaminated and is seeping into the Colorado River.

Learn more at Rocketdyne Cleanup Coalition and Environmental Working Group.

Actress: Denise Duffield. Photo by: Patricia Mateos Ballestero