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Development of a Reference Dose for Perchlorate: Current Issues and StatusThe perchlorate anion (ClO4) is typically manufactured as the ammonium salt. The most common use of ammonium perchlorate is in the aerospace program as a component of solid rocket fuel. The perchlorate anion is exceedingly stable under environmental conditions and has been found in ground and surface waters in CA, NV, UT, AZ, TX, AK, NY, MD, WV and FL. The National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is in the process of developing an oral reference dose (RfD) for perchlorate. An oral RfD is a body-weight-adjusted dose that can be consumed daily over an entire lifetime with the expectation of no adverse health effects. Once developed, the new RfD will be used by US EPA as the basis of a safe-drinking-water level (SDWL) guideline. US EPA and regional regulatory agencies will then jointly or separately propose clean-up action levels for ground and surface waters at contaminated sites. The toxicological database on CIO4- as of March 1997 was determined by an expert peer-review panel to be inadequate for the purpose of deriving an oral RfD. For example, little or no experimental data existed on the subchronic, reproductive, or developmental toxicity of perchlorate. To fill gaps in the toxicological database, eight animal studies were designed by a government-industry consortium that included US EPA and AFRL. These studies were performed in 1997-1998. It has been known for many years that in the thyroid, high doses of perchlorate block the function of iodide by competing for iodide binding sites. Perchlorate was used in the 1950s-60s as a treatment for Graves' disease (a hyperthyroid condition). Because of what was already known about the pharmacological mode of action of perchlorate, specific concerns addressed in the design of the recent animal studies included the potential for developmental toxicity, notably neurological development. Upon review of complete study reports from four of the studies and incomplete data from the other two, US EPA/NCEA issued a document in December 1998 stating that the critical effects were hormone and histology data from the neurodevelopmental/behavioral toxicity study that had been performed in rats; an RfD was proposed based upon the observation of thyroid-follicular-cell hypertrophy in the 5-day-old pups (PND) of dams given perchlorate in drinking water at 0.1 mg/kg-day (the lowest dose tested) in this study. US EPA/NCEA also focused attention on a nonsignificant increase in motor activity observed in 14-day-old male pups in the same study at the same dose. In February 1999, a public workshop was convened at which an external peer-review panel determined that there was still insufficient data to support the development of a RfD. Additional studies were recommended. Since that time a clinical study revealed significant depression of thyroidal uptake of iodide in volunteers receiving potassium perchlorate at 10 mg/day for 14 days. Follow-up studies currently underway include a pathology working-group review of histology slides from the all of the previous studies, a motor activity study similar to the first behavioral study, an additional immunotoxicity study, male and female rat kinetic studies, a hormone interlaboratory study, and an effects study for thyroid and brain in developing rats. These studies are expected to be complete by mid-2000. A clinical study is planned to determine inhibition of iodide uptake and kinetic parameters in humans following 14-day perchlorate ingestion. The kinetics studies will provide data for developing physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models for rats and humans needed to establish the RfD.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Pleus, R. C.
(Intertox, Inc. Seattle, WA United States)
Goodman, G.
(Intertox, Inc. Seattle, WA United States)
Mattie, D. R.
(Air Force Research Lab. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: JANNAF 18th Safety and Environmental Protection Subcommittee Meeting
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
Safety and Environmental Protection(Cocoa Beach, FL)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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