What is perchlorate?

Perchlorate is a naturally occurring salt that is used to manufacture airbag inflation systems, fireworks, matches, and rocket fuel. Groundwater is the main source of perchlorate around the world.

How does perchlorate affect pregnancy?

Perchlorate interferes with the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb iodine from the bloodstream. It has been used around the world to treat hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland is overly active.

When the thyroid gland doesn’t get adequate supplies of iodine, the metabolism of adults is affected. The thyroid regulates the release of hormones, including the hormones vital to reproductive health. Children deficient in dietary iodine experience growth and development disorders.

Studies conducted by the National Academy of Science (NAS) indicate perchlorate affects the thyroid gland only. It is not stored elsewhere in the body nor is it metabolized. Furthermore, adverse effects of perchlorate exposure are reversible when exposure ceases.

In 2004, the American Thyroid Association issued a statement declaring perchlorate is not as hazardous to the health of fetuses, infants, and young children as had been previously suspected. Further studies in 2010 and 2011 involving thousands of pregnant women in Argentina, Italy, the United States and Wales support that conclusion.

In 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration found the average toddler in the US is getting half his or her exposure to perchlorate in the foods it consumes.

In 2009, the US Centers for Disease Control identified 15 brands of perchlorate-contaminated infant formula. When this formula is mixed with perchlorate from the public water supply, the combined effect of exposure could place consumption at levels higher than what’s considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In 2011, the EPA issued the requirement that perchlorate levels in public water supplies must meet the standards established in the Safe Drinking Water Act.

To Minimize Exposure

  • Move out of the flight zone of commercial and military air bases.
  • Drink bottled water if the public water supply poses a threat of excessive exposure.

Women of reproductive age can counter some of the effects of perchlorate exposure by:

  • Using iodized salt.
  • Taking nutritional supplements that include iodine.

< Common Household Chemicals

Source: Brent, Gregory A. “The Impact of Perchlorate Exposure in Early Pregnancy: Is It Safe to Drink the Water?” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The Endocrine Society. Jul 2010. Web. Dec 4, 2013.