Thyroid hormones and thyroid disease in relation to perchlorate dose and residence near a superfund site

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Perchlorate is a widely occurring contaminant, which can competitively inhibit iodide uptake and thus thyroid hormone production. The health effects of chronic low dose perchlorate exposure are largely unknown. In a community-based study, we compared thyroid function and disease in women with differing likelihoods of prior and current perchlorate exposure. Residential blocks were randomly selected from areas: (1) with potential perchlorate exposure via drinking water; (2) with potential exposure to environmental contaminants; and (3) neighboring but without such exposures. Eligibility included having lived in the area for >6 months and aged 20-50 years during 1988-1996 (during documented drinking water well contamination). We interviewed 814 women and collected blood samples (assayed for thyroid stimulating hormone and free thyroxine) from 431 interviewed women. Daily urine samples were assayed for perchlorate and iodide for 178 premenopausal women with blood samples. We performed multivariable regression analyses comparing thyroid function and disease by residential area and by urinary perchlorate dose adjusted for urinary iodide levels. Residential location and current perchlorate dose were not associated with thyroid function or disease. No persistent effect of perchlorate on thyroid function or disease was found several years after contaminated wells were capped.

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