Identifying subpopulations vulnerable to the thyroid-blocking effectsof perchlorateandthiocyanate

Jenica McMullen, Akhgar Ghassabian, Brenda Kohn, Leonardo Trasande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Context: Common environmental contaminants can disrupt normal thyroid function, which plays essential but varying roles at different ages. Objective: To evaluate the relationship of perchlorate, thiocyanate, and nitrate, three sodiumiodide symporter (NIS) inhibitors, and thyroid function in different age-sex-stratified populations. Design, Setting, Participants, and Intervention: This was a cross-sectional analysis of data from the 2009 to 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey evaluating the exposure to perchlorate, thiocyanate, and nitrate in 3151 participants aged 12 to 80. Main Outcome Measure: Blood serum free thyroxine (FT4) as both a continuous and categorical variable. We also assessed blood serum thyroid stimulating hormone. Results: Controlling for serum cotinine, body mass index, total daily energy consumption, race/ ethnicity, and poverty-to-income ratio, for each log unit increase in perchlorate, FT4 decreased by 0.03 ng/dL in both the general population (P = 0.004) and in all women (P = 0.005), and by 0.06 ng/dL in adolescent girls (P = 0.029), corresponding to 4% and 8% decreases relative to median FT4, respectively. For each log unit increase thiocyanate, FT4 decreased by 0.07 ng/dL in adolescent boys (P = 0.003), corresponding to a 9% decrease relative to median FT4, respectively. Conclusions: Our results indicate that adolescent boys and girls represent vulnerable subpopulations to the thyroid-blocking effects of NIS symporter inhibitors. These results suggest a valuable screening and intervention opportunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2637-2645
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


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