Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce (Lactuca sativa L), have been identified as a potential source of perchlorate exposure to humans. Perchlorate is of concern because excessive amounts may impair thyroid function by inhibiting iodide uptake by the sodium iodide symporter. Perchlorate has been identified as an oxidation product in sodium hypochlorite. Dilute hypochlorite solutions are widely used on lettuce as a preservative and as a treatment to reduce microbial food risks. However, the potential of hypochlorite to be a source of human perchlorate exposure from lettuce had not been evaluated. Studies were conducted with lettuce collected in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado and in the lower Colorado River Valley of southwestern Arizona to represent conditions under which hypochlorite is applied to lettuce in the field and in salad processing facilities. We used spray and dipping solutions that were dilutions of concentrated sodium hypochlorite that would contain from 12000 and 120000 μg/L perchlorate. The perchlorate content of iceberg and romaine lettuce averaged 6.2 and 7.2 μg/kg fw in southern Colorado and 14.0 and 56.7 μg/kg fw in southwestern Arizona and there were no significant (P > 0.05) increases in the perchlorate content of lettuce due to hypochlorite treatments. Because of the relatively low concentrations of perchlorate present after dilution and the low volumes applied to lettuce, hypochlorite solutions do not appear to be a significant source of the perchlorate levels found in lettuce.
- Sodium iodide symporter
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)