Monitoring perchlorate exposure and thyroid hormone status among raccoons inhabiting a perchlorate-contaminated site

Philip N. Smith, Sarah J. Utley, Stephen B. Cox, Todd A. Anderson, Scott T. Mcmurry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Perchlorate is a water soluble anion that is readily accumulated in vegetation. It inhibits uptake of iodide into thyroid gland tissue, thereby reducing production of thyroid hormones. Potential raccoon food items including berries, fish, and vegetation collected at a contaminated site contained quantifiable concentrations of perchlorate as determined by ion chromatography. Therefore, we monitored resident raccoons for exposure to perchlorate by examining plasma perchlorate and thyroid hormone concentrations. Resulting analytical data failed to demonstrate perchlorate exposure among raccoons that likely consumed food items collected along perchlorate-contaminated water bodies. There were no correlations between triiodothyronine or thyroxine and thyroid stimulating hormone concentrations, but triiodothyronine concentrations in raccoon plasma were significantly higher in 2000 than in 2001 (p = 0.0081). These data suggest that natural attenuation and remedial efforts initiated in January of 2001 may have reduced perchlorate exposure among raccoons inhabiting this site from 2000 to 2001. Temporal, spatial, and analytical factors limited our ability to quantify exposure among raccoons, however, our data do not indicate that raccoons currently inhabiting this site are at risk for significant exposure to perchlorate and subsequent effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-347
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Longhorn army ammunition plant
  • Perchlorate
  • Raccoon
  • Remediation
  • Thyroid hormone


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