Kochi: Ammonium perchlorate is one of the known environmental contaminants, which can impair the functioning of the thyroid hormone. Constant exposure to the highly explosive chemical which is used in rocket fuel and fireworks can cause serious health hazards.
The major health hazards of a high level of perchlorate listed by international scientific agencies include irritation of skin, eyes, throat, breathing problems, coughing and wheezing. It may also affect the kidneys.
“The correlation between ammonium perchlorate and the thyroid hormone has been proven in various studies. Though the chemical can impair the functioning of the thyroid, leading to metabolic disorders, the impairment will be gradually cured once the exposure to the chemical is stopped. In the Keezhamdu panchayat, where we conducted a study following a high incidence of hypothyroidism, most of the patients were found to be returning to the normal thyroid hormone level after they stopped using the polluted well water,” said Dr. N. Chandramohan Kumar of Department of Chemical Oceanography, School of Marine Sciences, Cochin University of Science and Technology.
A high level of ammonium perchlorate was found earlier in well water in the area where ISRO’s Ammonium Perchlorate Experimental Plant (APEP) is located in Aluva.
Dr. Jayaprakash, consultant endocrinologist of Medical Trust Hospital, Kochi said that perchlorate blocks iodine from entering the thyroid and prevents further synthesis of thyroid hormone causing hypothyroidism. “Though the situation can be reversed once exposure to the chemical is stopped, hypothyroidism will result in other complications.”...