Fireworks, perchlorate and fetal brain developm... - Thyroid UK

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Fireworks, perchlorate and fetal brain development linked


Every year, when the supermarkets fall over themselves to sell fireworks rather than food, I am reminded of the connection between a significant ingredient of fireworks and the thyroid. This year, whilst a bit late - Guy Fawkes and Diwali have been and gone - I am at least getting round to posting.

Perchlorate is also used as a propellant in rockets, in some food packaging (!), and other products.

The article below is just one of many which highlight the impact of perchlorate on the thyroid.

Fireworks, perchlorate and fetal brain development linked

Fireworks are a key part of a wide number of public celebrations around the world, including Australia Day (January 26), the Festival of Sant Joan in Genoa, Italy (June 24), US Independence Day (July 4), Bastille Day (July 14), National Day in Signapore (August 9), Diwali in India (October), Guy Fawkes Night in the United Kingdom (November 5) and New Year’s Eve in Jakarta, Indonesia (December 31). But while they are a visual delight, fireworks are anything but innocuous. Research has shown that they can cause significant air pollution and the residues they leave behind – including strontium, barium, cobalt and lead – can be highly dangerous.

A less-known fact is that fireworks contain significant amounts of perchlorate, a chemical of particular concern because of its potential effects on foetal brain development. A 2014 study published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism examined data from more than 21,000 pregnant women in the United Kingdom and Italy. All of tested positive for perchlorate, and many also had low iodine levels. Children born to women with the highest levels of perchlorate and the lowest levels of iodine were found to be at greater risk of significant IQ loss. So what’s the connection between perchlorate, iodine and IQ?

Rest of article here:

This is a link to an EU document regarding setting of "safe" levels:

7 Replies

You never know what to expect next. Who would have thought that something within fireworks could be dangerous.

Thanks for posting.

Very interesting ~ thank you for posting. x

Gosh how interesting and unexpected, thank you - and it's another reason to ban the sale of the wretched things! But then I'm always accused of being a kill-joy around this time of year ;)

And , why not just for Guy F s night . As least we would have some protection , could avoid and keep our animals in.

As a child we all only had only enough for an hour or so . 🙃

Sour grapes ? No 🙂

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Gcart

Even as a child, though, the local major display was on the nearest Saturday whereas lots of private displays were on the actual 5th. So already that was two days in six out of seven years.


Just found this - a possible reduction in harm which should resonate with us here - use iodine compounds rather than chlorine!

The researchers find that sodium and potassium periodate (pronounced “per-eye-oh-date”) seem to fulfil all these requirements. These are analogous to perchlorates, with the chlorine atoms replaced with iodine. That’s a crucial difference from the point of view of thyroid toxicity. It seems likely that perchlorate ions can nudge out iodide ions in the thyroid because they have a similar size. But periodate ions are considerably too big to substitute for iodide in the same manner.

I have a nasty feeling that the greater weight - molecule for molecule - of iodine compounds over the equivalent chlorine compounds will militate against this. After all, all forms of rocket need to be as light as possible.

I beleive that some places which use vast amounts of fireworks, like Disney parks, already use electric launchers which reduces the amount of chemical agent required.


Crikey. Guy Fawkes would have done better with a box of supermarket bangers.

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