Perchlorate-induced natrium-iodide symporter (NIS) interference is a well-recognized thyroid disrupting mechanism. It is unclear, however, whether a chronic low-dose exposure to perchlorate delivered by food and drinks may cause thyroid dysfunction in the long term. Thus, the aim of this review was to overview and summarize literature results in order to clarify this issue.
Authors searched PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, institutional websites and Google until April 2020 for relevant information about the fundamental mechanism of the thyroid NIS interference induced by orally consumed perchlorate compounds and its clinical consequences.
Food and drinking water should be considered relevant sources of perchlorate. Despite some controversies, cross-sectional studies demonstrated that perchlorate exposure affects thyroid hormone synthesis in infants, adolescents and adults, particularly in the case of underlying thyroid diseases and iodine insufficiency. An exaggerated exposure to perchlorate during pregnancy leads to a worse neurocognitive and behavioral development outcome in infants, regardless of maternal thyroid hormone levels.
The effects of a chronic low-dose perchlorate exposure on thyroid homeostasis remain still unclear, leading to concerns especially for highly sensitive patients. Specific studies are needed to clarify this issue, aiming to better define strategies of detection and prevention.