Concerns with perchlorate

Literature on environmental and health issues related to perchlorate

Literature on environmental and health issues related to perchlorate

 The environmental and health issues related to AP are:


● Acid rain formation
● Ozone depletion
● Thyroid gland interference



AP contains 30% chlorine which on combustion forms hydrochloric gas. By one launch of the Ariane 5 rocket, 100 tons of hydrochloric gas is formed which corresponds to 270 tons of concentrated hydrochloric acid.


Part of the chlorine emission is injected directly into the stratosphere where it catalytically promotes ozone depletion. At present, the global rocket launches do not contribute significantly to the ozone layer depletionexternal link, opens in new window, but over the course of time, due to the expected increased numbers of launches, this contribution may become significant. It has even been suggested that this might require the number of launches to be regulated in the futureexternal link, opens in new window.


Groundwater contaminated from the production of perchlorate might adversely affect human health by interfering with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland. Interference with both the thyroid and available thyroid hormones is known to produce adverse effects on neurodevelopment in humans, with foetuses and infants being most vulnerableexternal link, opens in new window.


Recently in Europe the presence of perchlorate in fruits and vegetablesexternal link, opens in new window has attracted attention. In view of a possible Union legislation all Member States are currently requested by the European Commission to monitor the presence of perchlorate in foodexternal link, opens in new window. The European Food Safety Authority Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain concluded that the chronic dietary exposure to perchlorate is of potential concernexternal link, opens in new window.


On 29 April 2015, the Commission Recommendation 2015/682 (EU),external link, opens in new window on the monitoring of perchlorate in food and drinking water was adopted. During the course of 2016, the setting of maximum levels for perchlorate in certain foods will be considered, based upon the outcome of the scientific opinion and monitoring data generated in execution of the Commission Recommendation. 


Read more about perchlorates: link, opens in new window link, opens in new window


FOI, Swedish Defence Research Agency
Department of Energetic Materials
Grindsjön Research Centre
SE-147 25 Tumba




Niklas Wingborg
Tel : +46 8 5550 4181
Mobile: +46 709 277378
Fax : +46 8 5550 3949

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 638719.