Goitrogens

Goitrogens are chemicals that block, or interfere with, iodine absorption, often causing a goiter (see Chapter 7). One type of goitrogens, the thiocyanates, comes from foods such as yellow turnips, cassava, maize, bamboo shoots, sweet potatoes, and lima beans. Another type, the flavenoids, is found in millet, sorghum, beans, and ground nuts. Unless your diet is also severely iodine deficient, however, there is no need to worry about having these foods as they are excellent sources of fiber, important vitamins, and cancer-fighting agents.

Additionally, some other goitrogens enter the water supply from coal deposits, particularly resorcinols, phenols, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Similarly, thio-

cyanates, flavenoids, and hydroxypyridines are goitrogenic chemicals that enter the body from cigarette smoke.

Other Waterborne Concerns

Perchlorate is a major ingredient in rocket fuel, and perchlorates have been found as contaminants in the water supply of parts of the western United States. Recently, large areas of Southern California and Nevada have been found to have their water supplies contaminated. Although there has not been any evidence of adverse health effects from this environmental contaminant, additional studies have been undertaken since there are possibilities of legal actions (called toxic torts) should such evidence be found. These studies document the absence of any ill effects of perchlorate when taken in the amounts measured in the water supply.

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