Suh M, Abraham L, Hixon JG, Proctor D. 2014. The effects of perchlorate, nitrate, and thiocyanate on free thyroxine for potentially sensitive subpopulations of the 2001–2002 and 2007–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. J Expos Sci Epidemiol 24:579-587.
Among women with urinary iodine concentration <100 μg/l in the 2001–2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), urinary perchlorate was associated with significant changes in thyroid stimulating hormone and total thyroxine (T4). Although perchlorate, nitrate, and thiocyanate all potentially act to inhibit iodide uptake, free T4 was not found to be associated with exposure to these chemicals in the same data. Fetuses of pregnant mothers with iodine deficiency are thought to be a sensitive subpopulation for perchlorate exposure, but the potential associations between free T4 and exposure to these chemicals among pregnant mothers in NHANES 2001–2002 and 2007–2008 have not been specifically evaluated to date. This study investigates the potential associations between urinary perchlorate, nitrate, and thiocyanate and serum free T4 in individuals with low urinary iodine levels and pregnant women. Multivariate regression models of free T4 were conducted and included urinary perchlorate, nitrate, thiocyanate, and covariates known to have an impact on the thyroid (anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, and hours of fasting). Meta-analyses were also conducted on non-pregnant and on pregnant women from the two survey cycles. Urinary nitrate was associated with serum free T4 in non-pregnant women of NHANES 2001–2002 who had urinary iodine ≥100 μg/l. In the meta-analysis, urinary perchlorate, nitrate, and thiocyanate were significant predictors of serum free T4 in non-pregnant women. No association was found in men and pregnant women. TPO antibodies were significant predictors of free T4 among non-pregnant women only when the models included urinary perchlorate, nitrate, or thiocyanate. Risk assessment for perchlorate exposure should consider co-exposure to nitrate and thiocyanate.