Perchlorate is well-known to inhibit the uptake of iodine by the thyroid and has been shown to do so at doses in the milligrams-per-day range and higher. Perchlorate has been found in the water supply of Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada, at 4 to 24 μg/L (parts per billion) and may provide exposure dosages in the tens of micrograms per day. An analysis of the Medicaid database from Nevada was undertaken to determine whether an increase in the prevalence of any thyroid disease was associated with that level of perchlorate content. The prevalence of persons being seen for thyroid disease or for specific thyroid diseases (goiter, nodule, thyrotoxicosis, congenital hypothyroidism, acquired hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and other thyroid disorders) and for thyroid cancer among the Medicaid-eligible population of each county was calculated for the 2-year period 1997 to 1998. The prevalences in Clark County were compared with those in Washoe County (ie, Reno), the second most populous county in the state, and with those for the rest of the state. There was no evidence of an increased rate of thyroid disease (or of any specific thyroid disease) associated with perchlorate exposure. Generally, the prevalences in the metropolitan parts of the state were lower than for the rest of the state, particularly for acquired hypothyroidism. This analysis found no evidence that perchlorate-containing drinking water at the given level increased the prevalence of acquired hypothyroidism or of any other thyroid condition
From the Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary (Dr Li); Nevada Medicaid, Carson City (Ms Squartsoff); and Consultants in Epidemiology and Occupational Health, Inc (Dr Li, Dr Lamm).
Address correspondence to: Steven H. Lamm, MD, Consultants in Epidemiology and Occupational Health, Inc, 2428 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20007.
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