Perchlorate is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that interferes with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Maternal thyroid dysfunction during gestation may alter fetal brain development. Perchlorate contamination is widespread: it is present in the body of all Americans tested and the majority of foods tested. The main sources of food contamination appear to be hypochlorite bleach, a disinfectant and sanitizer, that when poorly managed quickly degrades to perchlorate and perchlorate-laden plastic food packaging for dry food or localized contamination from manufacturing or processing of the chemical. Eliminating perchlorate from food packaging and improving bleach management, such as reducing concentration and storage time and temperature, would result in reduced perchlorate contamination of food and water.
Keywords: Bleach; Drinking water; Endocrine disruption; Food contamination; Food packaging; Neurodevelopment; Perchlorate.