The occurrence of perchlorate in the environment is due largely to man-made sources; however, it can be present naturally in Chilean caliche soils which are used as fertilizers due to their high nitrate content. In aqueous systems, perchlorate exists as an anion, most commonly associated with ammonium, potassium and sodium salts. Perchlorate is very soluble in water and relatively inert, making it a mobile and persistent contaminant. The production of explosives, blasting agents and rocket propellant are the largest uses for ammonium perchlorate. Perchlorate salts are also used for a wide variety of other applications. The primary health concern related to perchlorate is its potential to interfere with the thyroid gland's ability to utilize iodine to produce thyroid hormones.
Although Alpha Analytical held EPA UCMR certification for perchlorate analysis by Method 314 for UCMR 1 in 2004, we now recommend the use of IC/MS/MS methods for the analysis of perchlorate. Alpha utilizes either EPA Method 332.0 or EPA SW846 6860, depending on your application. Both of these IC/MS/MS methods greatly increases the sensitivity, removes interferences from other anions and eliminates the possibility of false positive results.