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US Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study: Dietary intake of perchlorate and iodine


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted the Total Diet Study (TDS) since 1961, which designed to monitor the US food supply for chemical contaminants, nutritional elements, and toxic elements. Recently, perchlorate was analyzed in TDS samples. Perchlorate is used as an oxidizing agent in rocket propellant, is found in other items (e.g., explosives, road flares, fireworks, and car airbags), occurs naturally in some fertilizers, and may be generated under certain climatic conditions. It has been detected in surface and groundwater and in food. Perchlorate at high (e.g., pharmacological) doses can interfere with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland, disrupting its function. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has identified that “the fetuses of pregnant women who might have hypothyroidism or iodide deficiency as the most sensitive population.” This study reports on intake estimates of perchlorate and iodine, a precursor to iodide, using the analytical results from the TDS. Estimated average perchlorate and iodine daily intakes as well as the contribution of specific food groups to total intakes were estimated for 14 age/sex subgroups of the US population. The estimated smallest lower bound to the largest upper bound average perchlorate intakes by the 14 age/sex groups range from 0.08 to 0.39 micrograms per kilogram body weight per day (μg/kg bw/day), compared with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reference dose (RfD) of 0.7 μg/kg bw/day. Infants and children demonstrated the highest estimated intakes of perchlorate on a body weight basis. The estimated average iodine intakes by the 14 age/sex groups reveal a lower bound (ND=0) and upper bound (ND=LOD) range of average intakes from 138 to 353 μg/person/day. Estimated iodine intakes by infants 6–11 months exceed their adequate intake (AI), and intakes by children and adult age/sex groups exceed their relevant estimated average requirement (EAR).

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The Total Diet Study is a collaborative effort of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and FDA's district offices and laboratories. Finally, the authors of this work do not have any involvement, financial, or otherwise, that might potentially bias their work.

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Correspondence to Clarence William Murray.

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Murray, C., Egan, S., Kim, H. et al. US Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study: Dietary intake of perchlorate and iodine. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 18, 571–580 (2008).

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  • Total Diet Study
  • dietary intakes
  • nutritional element
  • iodine
  • perchlorate
  • monitoring

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