I recently learned that sodium perchlorate is the coating used in cereal bags that makes the cereal flow more easily into and out of the bag. This chemical is also used in rocket fuel. As you might imagine, there are numerous health issues with having trace amounts of sodium perchlorate in your diet. This includes organic cereals as well.
The main health concern is how it can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Perchlorate can disrupt thyroid function by competitively inhibiting the uptake of iodine by the thyroid gland. Iodine is an essential nutrient that the thyroid gland needs to produce thyroid hormones, which play a critical role in regulating metabolism and overall health. When perchlorate interferes with iodine uptake, it can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormones.
A 2014 study out of the United Kingdom found that perchlorate exposure may decrease the IQ in unborn children. The study looked at 500 pregnant women for detectible perchlorate levels in urine. The study found that women with the highest perchlorate level in urine had children who had the lowest IQs at three years of age.
While I have not found any, I have heard that there are brands offering perchlorate-free packaging. Additionally, if you are like me and don’t eat cereal frequently, you can transfer the cereal into an airtight container for storage. Lastly, if you are able to buy in bulk, you may be able to bypass the individually boxed and bagged amounts. For example, I purchased 50 lbs of oats that came in a large paper bag.
Thankfully, perchlorate doesn’t stay in the system long, however, chronic, prolonged exposure and usage can lead to bioaccumulation.