Tanyun Ammonium Perchlorate

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Discovery, use and harm of ammonium perchlorate in nature

Perchlorates are found in nature in two different ways, either in the solid state (in the absence of water) or dissolved in water.

The places with the highest levels of perchlorate are the West Texas and North Chile regions.

Perchlorates are a group of negatively charged atoms made up of a chlorine (Cl) atom in the center attached to four oxygen atoms.

Perchlorates are odorless and colorless. There are five types of perchlorates, which are manufactured in large quantities: potassium perchlorate, lithium perchlorate, ammonium perchlorate, sodium perchlorate, and magnesium perchlorate.

At room temperature the perchlorates remain stable, but at high temperatures they begin to react producing a large amount of heat. This process is repeated over and over again until they finally explode.

Due to this reaction, ammonium perchlorate is used in rocket propellants, light signals, fireworks, explosives, and gunpowder.

Perchlorates can also be used in the manufacture of glues, batteries, air bags, electrolyte baths, as cleaning and bleaching agents, to generate oxygen, etc.

If you live near or work in a manufacturing or testing plant for rockets, fireworks, or any other explosive material, it is easy to find additional sources of dissolved ammonium perchlorate in the environment.

Entry into the body of a person is through breathing. When you breathe air that contains perchlorate droplets or dust, it is easy for them to pass into the bloodstream through the lungs. Ammonium perchlorate is distributed throughout the body through the bloodstream that passes to the kidneys to later be eliminated through the urine.

Approximately 10 minutes after exposure, the body begins to eliminate most of the perchlorate through the kidneys, but not all of it, with the thyroid gland being the main organ that can be affected.

Perchlorate partially inhibits the incorporation of iodine by the thyroid, a reduced amount of thyroid hormones is produced, leading to hypothyroidism.

It is very important to avoid the dispersion of dust. At the first symptoms of skin redness, red eyes, it is very important to wash with plenty of water for approximately 15 minutes and remove all clothing that may be contaminated, then go to a health center that provides medical assistance.

Ammonium perchlorate is not combustible but it facilitates the combustion of other substances, leading to a fire or explosion. In the event of fire, the appropriate extinguishing medium must be used, keep the drums cold and spray the facilities with water.

In case of spills and leaks, the area must be evacuated immediately, protecting yourself by putting on a respirator with a filter for particles adapted to the concentration of the substance in air. It is very important to prevent the product from mixing in the environment, so if necessary, the powder should be moistened, avoiding its dispersion. It should NOT be absorbed in sawdust or other combustible absorbents.

It is recommended that storage of ammonium perchlorate be carried out in its original containers and in small groups, ensuring that there is no propagation of detonation.

The elimination of ammonium perchlorate should never be done through the sewer or natural water course, it is very dangerous for the environment. All waste and empty containers generated must be handled and disposed of in accordance with current legislation.

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