Sodium chlorate

Sodium chlorate
Sodium chlorate
CAS number 7775-09-9 YesY
PubChem 24487 YesY
ChemSpider 22895 YesY
EC number 231-887-4
UN number 1495, 2428
KEGG C18765 YesY
MeSH Sodium+chlorate
RTECS number FO0525000
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula NaClO3
Molar mass 106.44 g/mol
Appearance white solid
Odor odorless
Density 2.5 g/cm3
Melting point

248 °C, 521 K, 478 °F

Boiling point

~300 °C decomp.

Solubility in water 101.0 g/100 mL (20 °C)
Refractive index (nD) 1.572
EU Index 017-005-00-9
EU classification Oxidant (O)
Harmful (Xn)
Dangerous for the environment (N)
R-phrases R9, R22, R51/53
S-phrases (S2), S13, S17, S46, S61
NFPA 704
NFPA 704.svg
Flash point none
Related compounds
Other anions Sodium chloride; Sodium hypochlorite; Sodium chlorite; Sodium perchlorate; Sodium bromate; Sodium iodate
Other cations Ammonium chlorate; Potassium chlorate; Barium chlorate
Related compounds Chloric acid
 YesY chlorate (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Sodium chlorate is a chemical compound with the chemical formula (NaClO3). When pure, it is a white crystalline powder that is readily soluble in water. It is hygroscopic. It decomposes above 250 °C to release oxygen and leave sodium chloride. In September 2009, wholesale of sodium chlorate weedkiller was banned in all EU countries,[citation needed] but consumers were allowed to use and store the product until May 2010.



Industrially, sodium chlorate is synthesized from the electrolysis of a hot sodium chloride solution in a mixed electrode tank:

NaCl + 3H2O → NaClO3 + 3H2

It can also be synthesized by passing chlorine gas into a hot sodium hydroxide solution. It is then purified by crystallization.


The main commercial use for sodium chlorate is for making chlorine dioxide (ClO2). The largest application of ClO2, which accounts for about 95% of the use of chlorate, is in bleaching of pulp.


Sodium chlorate is used as a non-selective herbicide. It is considered phytotoxic to all green plant parts. It can also kill through root absorption.

Sodium chlorate may be used to control a variety of plants including:

The herbicide is mainly used on non-crop land for spot treatment and for total vegetation control on areas including roadsides, fenceways, and ditches.

Sodium chlorate is also used as a defoliant and desiccant for:

If used in combination with atrazine, it increases the persistence of the effect. If used in combination with 2,4-D, performance is improved. Sodium chlorate has a soil sterilant effect. Mixing with other herbicides in aqueous solution is possible to some extent, so long as they are not susceptible to oxidation.

Chemical oxygen generation

Chemical oxygen generators, such as those in commercial aircraft, provide emergency oxygen to passengers to protect them from drops in cabin pressure by catalytic decomposition of sodium chlorate. The catalyst is normally iron powder. Barium peroxide (BaO2) is used to absorb the chlorine which is a minor product in the decomposition.[1] Iron powder is mixed with sodium chlorate and ignited by a charge which is activated by pulling on the emergency mask. The reaction produces more oxygen than is required for combustion. Similarly, the Solidox welding system used pellets of sodium chlorate mixed with combustible fibers to generate oxygen.

Toxicity in humans

Due to its oxidative nature, sodium chlorate can be very toxic if ingested. The oxidative effect on hemoglobin leads to methaemoglobin formation, which is followed by denaturation of the globin protein and a cross-linking of erythrocyte membrane proteins with resultant damage to the membrane enzymes. This leads to increased permeability of the membrane, and severe hemolysis. The denaturation of hemoglobin overwhelms the capacity of the G6PD metabolic pathway. In addition, this enzyme is directly denatured by chlorate reducing its activity.

Therapy with ascorbic acid and methylene blue are frequently used in the treatment of methemoglobinemia. However, since methylene blue requires the presence of NADPH that requires normal functioning of G6PD system, it is less effective than in other conditions characterized by hemoglobin oxidation.

Acute severe hemolysis results, with multi-organ failure, including DIC and renal failure. In addition there is a direct toxicity to the proximal renal tubule.[2] The treatment will consist of exchange transfusion, peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis.[3]


Sodium chlorate comes in dust, spray and granule formulations. There is a risk of fire and explosion in dry mixtures with other substances, especially organic materials, that is other herbicides, sulfur, phosphorus, powdered metals, strong acids. Particularly when mixed with sugar it has explosive properties. If accidentally mixed with one of these substances it should not be stored in human dwellings.[4]

Marketed formulations contain a fire retardant, but this has little effect if deliberately ignited. Most commercially available chlorate weedkillers contain approximately 53% sodium chlorate with the balance being a fire depressant such as sodium metaborate or ammonium phosphates.

Trade names

Sodium chlorate is the active ingredient in a variety of commercial herbicides. Some trade names for products containing sodium chlorate include Atlacide, Defol, De-Fol-Ate, Drop-Leaf, Fall, Harvest-Aid, Kusatol, Leafex, and Tumbleaf. The compound may be used in combination with other herbicides such as atrazine, 2,4-D, bromacil, diuron, and sodium metaborate.

Sodium chlorate was an extensively used weedkiller within the EU, up until 2009 when it was withdrawn after a decision made under terms of EU Regulations. Its use as an herbicide outside the EU remains unaffected, as does its use in other non-herbicidal applications, such as in the production of chlorine dioxide biocides and for pulp and paper bleaching

Cultural references

Historian James Watson of Massey University in New Zealand wrote a widely reported article, "The Significance of Mr. Richard Buckley's Exploding Trousers"[5][6] about accidents with sodium chlorate when used as an herbicide to control ragwort in the 1930s.[7] This later won him an Ig Nobel Prize in 2005,[8] and was the basis for the May 2006 "Exploding Pants" episode of MythBusters.


  1. ^ Yunchang Zhang, Girish Kshirsagar, and James C. Cannon (1993). "Functions of Barium Peroxide in Sodium Chlorate Chemical Oxygen". Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 32 (5): 966–969. doi:10.1021/ie00017a028. 
  3. ^ Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies, McGraw-Hill Professional; 8th edition (March 28, 2006), ISBN 978-0071437639
  4. ^ Beveridge, Alexander (1998). Forensic Investigation of Explosions. Taylor & Francis Ltd. ISBN 0-7484-0565-8. 
  5. ^ "The Significance of Mr. Richard Buckley's Exploding Trousers: Reflections on an Aspect of Technological Change in New Zealand Dairy Farming between the World Wars", Agricultural History magazine
  6. ^ "Histories: Farmer Buckley's exploding trousers", New Scientist
  7. ^ "Trousers Explode, Evening Post, 21 April 1933
  8. ^ James Watson for "The Significance of Mr. Richard Buckley’s Exploding Trousers.",

Further reading

  • "Chlorate de potassium. Chlorate de sodium", Fiche toxicol. n° 217, Paris:Institut national de recherche et de sécurité, 2000. 4pp.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sodium chlorate — n. a colorless, crystalline salt, NaClO3, used as an oxidizing agent in matches, explosives, etc …   English World dictionary

  • sodium chlorate — noun a colorless salt (NaClO3) used as a weed killer and an antiseptic • Hypernyms: ↑salt * * * noun : a hygroscopic crystalline salt NaClO3 usually made by electrolysis of common salt and used as an oxidizing agent (as in dye manufacture) and… …   Useful english dictionary

  • sodium chlorate — natrio chloratas statusas T sritis chemija formulė NaClO₃ atitikmenys: angl. sodium chlorate rus. натрий хлорноватокислый; натрия хлорат ryšiai: sinonimas – natrio trioksochloratas …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • sodium chlorate — /soʊdiəm ˈklɔreɪt/ (say sohdeeuhm klawrayt) noun a sodium salt, NaClO3, used in explosives …   Australian English dictionary

  • sodium chlorate — noun Date: 1885 a colorless crystalline salt NaClO3 used especially as an oxidizing agent and weed killer …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sodium chlorate — Chem. a colorless, water soluble solid, NaClO3, cool and salty to the taste, used chiefly in the manufacture of explosives and matches, as a textile mordant, and as an oxidizing and bleaching agent. [1880 85] * * * …   Universalium

  • sodium chlorate — so′dium chlo′rate n. chem. a colorless water soluble solid, NaClO3, used chiefly in the manufacture of explosives and matches, as a textile mordant, and as an oxidizing and bleaching agent • Etymology: 1880–85 …   From formal English to slang

  • Chlorate De Sodium — Général Nom IUPAC Chlorate de sodium Synonymes …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chlorate de soude — Chlorate de sodium Chlorate de sodium Général Nom IUPAC Chlorate de sodium Synonymes …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chlorate de sodium — Général Nom IUPAC Chlorate de sodium Synonymes chlorate d …   Wikipédia en Français

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