Perchlorate-related illness claims

Introduction

Updated: October 8, 2018

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.

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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 an individual experiences a perchlorate related illness having suffered exposure in the workplace, they could be entitled to claim for compensation if the employer was at fault.

Factory safety officers

Do I have a perchlorate-related illness claim?

If you have been diagnosed with a perchlorate-related illness in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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Understanding perchlorate

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:

  • magnesium
  • potassium
  • ammonium
  • sodium and
  • lithium perchlorates

Perchlorates can enter the body through ingestion, which is more common in general environmental exposure. However, in workplace exposure, inhalation is the most likely route. Once inside the body, 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 body functions, when affected, a range of symptoms can occur.

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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:

  • Fatigue
  • 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 body.

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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.

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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.

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How does No Win, No Fee work with perchlorate illness compensation claims?

No Win, No Fee agreements, technically referred to as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs), are the foundation of a claim.

The CFA defines the contract between the personal injury solicitor and you.

It sets out the work delivered by your lawyer, and crucially, a success fee. This success fee will be the fee that will be deducted from the compensation after your injury lawyer wins your claim.

You are able to prioritise your rest and recovery, with the knowledge that you will never be out of pocket and there will be nothing whatsoever to pay at the outset. You have absolutely no hidden costs when working with a Quittance solicitor.

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How much compensation can I claim for a perchlorate-related illness?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Meet the QLS team

The nationwide network of Quittance solicitors help injured people with all types of personal injury claims, from less-severe claims to catastrophic injury. Chosen on the basis of their winning track record, our solicitors have years of experience recovering compensation for their clients.

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Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor

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.

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