Perinatal exposure to perchlorate, thiocyanate, and nitrate in New Jersey mothers and newborns

Benjamin C. Blount, David Q. Rich, Liza Valentin-Blasini, Susan Lashley, Cande V. Ananth, Eileen Murphy, John C. Smulian, Betty J. Spain, Danab Barr, Thomas Ledoux, Paromita Hore, Mark Robson

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63 Scopus citations


Perchlorate is a commonly occurring environmental toxicant thatmaybetransportedacrossthe placental barrier by the sodium-iodide symporter (NIS), possibly resulting in both increased perchlorate exposure and decreased iodide uptake by the fetus. Therefore, we measured levels of three physiologically relevant NIS-inhibitors (perchlorate, nitrate, and thiocyanate) and iodide in maternal and fetal fluids collected during cesarean-section surgeries on 150 U.S. women. Geometric means of perchlorate, thiocyanate, and nitrate levels in maternal urine (2.90, 947, and 47900 μg/L, respectively) were similar to previously published results, while urinary iodide levels (1420 μg/L) were significantly higher (p<0.0001), likely because of prevalent prenatal vitamin use in the study population (74%). Thiocyanate levels were higher in the maternal serum, cord serum, and amniotic fluid of smokerscomparedtowomenwith environmental tobacco smoke exposure and nonsmokers (p-values of 0.0006, 0.0011, and 0.0026, respectively). Perchlorate was detected in most samples: urine (100%), maternal serum (94%), cord serum (67%), and amniotic fluid (97%). Maternal urinary perchlorate levels were positively correlated with perchlorate levels in amniotic fluid (r < 0.57), indicating that maternal urine perchlorate is an effective biomarker of fetal perchlorate exposure. Maternal serum perchlorate was generally higher than cord serum perchlorate (median ratio 2.4:1 for paired samples), and maternal urine perchlorate was always higher than fetal amniotic fluid perchlorate levels (mean ratio 22:1); conversely, iodide levels were typically higher in fetal fluids compared to maternal fluids. We found no evidence of either disproportionate perchlorate accumulation or lack of iodide in the fetal compartment. In this panel of healthy infants, we found no association between cord blood levels of these anions and newborn weight, length, and head circumference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7543-7549
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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