Thyroid antagonists (perchlorate, thiocyanate, and nitrate) and childhood growth in a longitudinal study of U.S. girls

Nancy A. Mervish, Ashley Pajak, Susan L. Teitelbaum, Susan M. Pinney, Gayle C. Windham, Lawrence H. Kushi, Frank M. Biro, Liza Valentin-Blasini, Benjamin C. Blount, Mary S. Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Perchlorate, thiocyanate, and nitrate are sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) inhibitors that block iodide uptake into the thyroid, thus affecting thyroid function. Thyroid dysfunction can adversely affect somatic growth and development in children. To our knowledge, no studies have examined effects of NIS inhibitors on body size measures. Objective: We investigated associations between NIS inhibitors and childhood growth in 940 girls from the Puberty Study of the Breast Cancer and Environment Research Program. Methods: Urine samples collected from girls 6–8 years of age at enrollment (2004–2007) from New York City, greater Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Bay Area in California were analyzed for NIS inhibitors and creatinine (C). The longitudinal association between NIS inhibitors and anthropometric measures [height, waist circumference, and body mass index (BMI)] during at least three visits was examined using mixed effects linear models, adjusted for race and site. Results: Compared with girls in the low-exposure group (3.6, 626, and 500 mg/gC, median perchlorate, thiocyanate, and nitrate, respectively) girls with the highest NIS inhibitor exposure (9.6, 2,343, and 955 mg/gC, median perchlorate, thiocyanate, and nitrate, respectively) had slower growth in waist circumference and BMI but not height. Significant differences in the predicted mean waist circumference and BMI between the low- and high-exposure groups were observed beginning at 11 years of age. Conclusions: Higher NIS inhibitor exposure biomarkers were associated with reductions in waist circumference and BMI. These findings underscore the need to assess exposure to NIS inhibitors with respect to their influence on childhood growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-549
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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