Asbestos vs. Perchlorate: Protect Your Lungs

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Difference between Asbestos and Perchlorate

Asbestos and perchlorate are two substances that are known to cause humans many problems that can lead to birth defects and death in many people. However, though they are both deadly to the world in large doses, which is their main similarity, they are still very different. A closer look at each substance reveals differences such as just what they are, the effect on people, and how frequent that people come in contact with these.

What Are They?

Asbestos is a silicate mineral which has been used by civilization for thousands of years due to its properties of heat, chemical and electricity damage resistance. It is used as a form of insulation and was used for many years mainly because the substance was durable and very cheap. Because of this, many buildings were using this type of insulation long before people started to notice that the asbestos was actually causing many more problems than it was worth.

Perchlorate is a substance that is made by man or can be found naturally in the Chile. It is usually found in ground water near places where rockets, fireworks and explosives are manufactured. The drinking water near these places may not be safe for humans to drink and bottled water drinking should be considered. Contaminated ground water can taint cattle, produce, dairy products, etc.

The Effect On People

When a person is around asbestos for an extended period of time, they are going to find that they have trouble breathing due to the effects of asbestos getting into the lungs. This is why the majority of those that come in contact are going to find that they start having asthma related symptoms that only seem to get worse as they age. Lung cancer and mesothelioma are serious conditions caused directly by exposure to asbestos. It usually is not until years later that people find out that the time that they spent around asbestos is the cause for their health problems.

Perchlorate can cause sickness if ingested by damaging thyroid and hormone functioning. Unborn babies are even more sensitive to these effects where the development of the nervous system sees the most harm. Adults may exhibit signs that are similar to food poisoning such as nausea, and so forth. Most people do not even realize that this is the problem until they are tested.

Human Contact With These Chemicals

Asbestos is something that people are rarely going to come in contact with anymore. The reason is that the most people had this removed from the dwellings since they were found to cause problems. However, when in older buildings that may have been abandoned, the chances of coming in contact with asbestos is likely, thus the person should be wearing a face mask to prevent inhaling the harmful contents.

People come in contact with perchlorate all the time through drinking water. However, this is a controlled substance in the water, and as long as the person is drinking filtered tap water they are considered to be safe. Unfortunately, modern science hasn't come up with a way to eliminate perchlorate completely from contaminated water.

Compare and Contrast

  • Though asbestos and perchlorate are both fire resistant substances that can cause massive damage to those who come in contact with them, they affect people in different ways:
  • Asbestos is a form of insulation that was deemed very durable and cheap and because of this it was used in many homes and buildings. Historically, it was used in many aspects of home construction, cars, cigarettes, lawn furniture and artificial snow.
  • Perchlorate is a substance that is found in ground water and tap water in small amounts.
  • Those who are exposed asbestos may have breathing problems that could lead to lung damage, cancer and/ or death.
  • Those exposed to perchlorate have thyroid sickness with effects of nervous system complications, birth defects or more commonly seen as those similar to food poisoning.
  • Most of those homes and buildings with asbestos have been fixed, however, there are homes that still have asbestos in them and a face mask should be worn to make sure that the person does not inhale the danger. Asbestos removal is the only safe option.
  • Perchlorate is officially considered to be safe in small amounts for those who drink from the tap. Public water sources should be safe since water companies’ screen for safety.


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