Should we fear perchlorate in the environment?

Desailloud R, Wemeau JL. [Should we fear the perchlorate ion in the environment?] Presse medicale (France) 2015 Nov 12. pii: S0755-4982(15)00443-1. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2015.10.002.

Perchlorate ions (ClO4) are present in groundwater and are then present in distribution networks of drinking water destined for human consumption. The perchlorate ion comes mainly from ammonium salt manufactured for industrial activities or from arms of the First World War. Perchlorate ion is a competitive inhibitor of the sodium-iodide symporter and inhibits the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Values of toxicity have been published by the French agency ANSES and are used by authorities to limit the consumption of drinking water of some distribution networks by children and pregnant women especially in Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie. Epidemiological data in other countries show no or little clinical effect in areas with similar contamination; it is therefore a precautionary principle. An effective substitution with iodine would limit the effects of the iodine deficiency itself but also would counteract the potential effects of an excess of perchlorate ions and also of other symporter inhibitors (thiocyanate, nitrate). Further studies are nevertheless needed to determine possible extra-thyroid effects of perchlorate ions.

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