If a perchlorate-related illness has set you back, we'll help you move forward
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a perchlorate related illness, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
Perchlorates are a known toxin identified as having a negative impact on health, in particular, thyroid function, metabolism and hormonal balance. Although perchlorates, or perchlorate salts, occur naturally, they are also manufactured in significant amounts because of their slow reacting, volatile properties.
Because of this, people who work in certain industries are particularly at risk of exposure. This includes manufacturers of rocket fuel, explosives, airbags, fireworks and fertilisers.
If you develop a perchlorate-related illness after exposure in the workplace, you could be entitled to claim for compensation if your employer was at fault.
A perchlorate (CIO4) is a negatively charged group of atoms consisting of a central chlorine atom bonded to four oxygen atoms. When combined with positively charged ammonium or alkalis, they become an inorganic compound known as perchlorates or perchlorate salts.
Five perchlorates are manufactured in significant amounts:
- sodium and
- lithium perchlorates
Perchlorates can enter the through ingestion, which is more common in general environmental exposure. However, in workplace exposure, inhalation is the most likely route. Once inside the , perchlorates are thought to affect the thyroid, partially inhibiting its uptake of iodine - the building block for the thyroid hormone.
As the thyroid function regulates a number of functions, when affected, a range of symptoms can occur.
Diagnosing a perchlorate related illness
One of the first steps in a perchlorate related illness claim is establishing a firm medical diagnosis. Many of the symptoms of perchlorate exposure are common to a range of thyroid disorders. Recognised symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Slow heart rate
- Dry skin and brittle nails
- Numbness of tingling in the hands
- Hair loss
It is important when being assessed that a person provides details on their work history. This can help a doctor establish any links between the symptoms and possible perchlorate exposure. Urine and blood tests can also be performed to detect whether or not there is perchlorate in the .
What are the responsibilities of an employer regarding perchlorates?
Perchlorates are colourless and odourless; however, any employer who knows their industry and who has carried out a full risk assessment - a legal requirement - should have identified the risk.
In addition, although the use of perchlorates is necessary in some industries, an employer should do everything that is 'reasonably practical' to ensure employees do not become ill due to neglectful exposure. This could include:
- Installing adequate installation
- Supplying suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as breathing masks
- Providing adequate training on the risks of perchlorates and the agreed control measures
- Limiting weekly exposure times
This 'duty of care' falls under a range of legislation including the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 (COSHH).
If an employer fails to meet any of these requirements, they could be liable if negligence can be proven.
How can negligence be proven?
Proving negligence, and ultimately establishing liability, is not always straightforward in perchlorate related illness claims. As exposure can occur in everyday situations, proving that the workplace was the causal factor will often require a range of evidence.
This could include medical reports demonstrating high levels of perchlorate, which is found predominantly in people exposed on a daily basis. It could also include company health and safety records which show that a risk has not been identified or a control was not adequate.
Do I qualify for perchlorate-related illness compensation?
You will usually be eligible to claim compensation if you have been injured in the following circumstances:
- in the last 3 years, and;
- another person or organisation was to blame, and;
- they owed you duty of care.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
How long after a perchlorate-related illness do I have to start a claim?
For most injury claims, you have up to 3 years from the date of your injury to start the claims process.
If you were injured due to someone else's negligence but didn't realise it at the time, the clock starts ticking from the 'date of knowledge' - the day you become aware of your injury.
How much compensation can I claim for a perchlorate-related illness?
The amount of money you could claim for your illness or health condition will depend on:
- the seriousness of your illness, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
When starting your claim, your solicitor will thoroughly assess how your illness has impacted your daily life. These factors will be taken into careful consideration in order to determine the correct compensation amount.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are awarded to compensate you for any costs or losses you've incurred or might incur as a result of your accident. These costs might include loss of income, including future loss of income, or any other out of pocket expenses.
Special damages may also be awarded for medical treatments or procedures that you might need to treat your illness, including medication for managing ongoing symptoms, monitoring and supportive care.
Employers' liability claims claims
Work-related illness claims are also known as employers' liability claims. Click on the icons below for more information:
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About the author
Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.