On October 24, 2017, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific report on “Dietary exposure assessment to perchlorate in the European population.” EFSA had received a mandate from the European Commission to perform a human exposure assessment for perchlorate considering available data on perchlorate occurrence in food from samples taken after September 1, 2013. A data set of 18,217 analytical results was used to analyze perchlorate occurrence in food and to estimate human dietary exposure. The data were provided by 16 EU countries, 93.7% from governmental organizations and 6.3% from food business operators. Both chronic and short-term human dietary exposure to perchlorate were estimated using consumption data at the individual level derived from EFSA’s comprehensive food consumption database.

Young population groups (infants, toddlers, other children) had higher exposure levels than older groups in the chronic exposure scenario (mean: 0.04–0.61 μg/kg body weight (bw)/day vs. 0.04–0.19 μg/kg bw/day; 95th percentile (P95): 0.09–1.0 μg/kg bw/day vs. 0.07–0.34 μg/kg bw/day). The same tendency was observed in the short-term exposure scenario (mean: 0.40–2.3 μg/kg bw/day vs. 0.26–1.3 μg/kg bw /day; P95: 0.94–6.5 μg/kg bw/day vs. 0.67–3.6 μg/kg bw/day). Further, the analysis found that ‘vegetable and vegetable products,’ ‘milk and dairy products,’ as well as and ‘fruit and fruit products’ were important contributors to the overall population’s perchlorate exposure.

Perchlorate is used, amongst others, in fertilizers and medicinal applications. Different perchlorate salts are authorized as additives for plastic food contact materials in the EU and as indirect food additives in the U.S.. Perchlorate is an endocrine disruptor known to affect iodine uptake into the thyroid gland.

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EFSA (October 24, 2017). “Dietary exposure assessment to perchlorate in the European population.EFSA Journal 15(10):5043.