Perchlorate and nitrate in leafy vegetables of North America

C. A. Sanchez, K. S. Crump, R. I. Krieger, N. R. Khandaker, J. P. Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


In previous studies trace levels of perchlorate were found in lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) irrigated with Colorado River water, which is contaminated with low levels of perchlorate from aerospace and defense related industries. In this paper, we report the results of a survey conducted across North America to evaluate the occurrence of perchlorate in leafy vegetables produced outside the lower Colorado River region, and evaluate the relative iodide uptake inhibition potential to perchlorate and nitrate in these leafy vegetables. Conventionally and organically produced lettuce and other leafy vegetable samples were collected from production fields and farmers' markets in the central and coastal valleys of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Quebec, and New Jersey. Results show that 16% of the conventionally produced samples and 32% of the organically produced samples had quantifiable levels of perchlorate using ion chromatography. Estimated perchlorate exposure from organically produced leafy vegetables was approximately 2 times that of conventional produce, but generally less than 10% of the reference dose recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. Furthermore, the iodide uptake inhibition potential of perchlorate was less than 1% of that of the nitrate present. These data are consistent with those of other reported perchlorate survey work with lettuce, bottled water, breast milk, dairy milk, and human urine, and suggest a wide national presence of perchlorate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9391-9397
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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