Perchlorates can Cause Hypothyroidism

I’m bothered when the discussion of food toxins or allergens get brought up during meals, as it can crash your whole dining experience, but since none of us are eating right now, I’ll tell you about perchlorates. You can eat foods contaminated with that. This pervasive toxin attacks thyroid function. Thyroid hormone gives you energy, improves mood, regulates heart rhythm, stimulates hair growth and helps you burn fat.

When you drink or eat contaminated foods with perchlorates, they compete with iodine preventing uptake, and this reduces thyroid function. We know for a fact perchlorates inhibit the “sodium-iodide symporter” and perchlorates are sometimes injected intravenously into people in order to test them for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Whether you eat it, drink it or get exposed during a test, perchlorates can lead to hypothyroidism. That is associated weight gain, fatigue and infertility.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) describes perchlorate as a natural and man-made colorless, odorless chemical commonly used to make pool chlorination chemicals and chlorine-derived cleaners, rocket flares, fireworks, military munitions, blasting agents, matches, car air bag inflators, batteries, fertilizers, chewing tobacco, aluminum refining, and more. Yep, pretty much EVERYWHERE!

As a result, perchlorate has contaminated our groundwater supply. People living on the East coast, California, Texas, or the southwest have the highest environmental exposures and their foods grown there are most contaminated. Water, eggs, milk and fruits and vegetables (lettuce, asparagus, kale, spinach) have high amounts.

Leafy greens, rich in natural folate,  have a lot of perchlorates present if they are grown in perchlorated-contaminated water! Choosing “organic” won’t matter with perchlorates, however there are other benefits. I’m not saying to avoid this, just try to buy your leafy greens from states that don’t have a high environmental risk. You’ll have to do more research on this, or read my above paragraph.

Perchlorate has a fast turn-over in the body which prompts the Perchlorate Information Bureau to reports that low levels of this chemical in drinking water and food supplies is not dangerous to human health. Even the FDA says it’s no biggie: FDA is not recommending that consumers of any age alter their diet or eating habits due to perchlorate.

I disagree. The first study of its kind recently evaluated perchlorate exposure in pregnant women to see what happened to brain development in offspring. Scientists included 487 expectant mothers -all hypothyroid- and measured their perchlorate levels during the first trimester.

The women tested positive for perchlorates, and were all iodine deficient. No surprise there, remember, iodine is bullied off the receptor sites in the presence of perchlorate. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. 


Researchers followed the women who had the highest perchlorate levels during pregnancy through birth and until their children were 3 years old. The toddlers all had diminished cognitive development and were in the lowest 10th percentile of IQ. I wonder how many of these moms had experienced a miscarriage during their life, as hypothyroidism is a common (but sadly missed) cause of miscarriage.

What’s so interesting is that thyroid medications were employed, and in fact, use of thyroid medications by moms with the highest perchlorate exposure did not even help offset the lower IQ in their children. The medicine didn’t even matter. The study did not say if the children were hypothyroid from birth. If they are, it should be a lifetime of thyroid hormone replenishment, either medication or supplemental.

What can you do? 

Avoidance. Avoid exposure to fruits and vegetables grown in areas with elevated levels of perchlorates. Do not expose yourself to any of the sources of perchlorate that I listed above.

Iodine.  When perchlorates are in your body, and also iodine, it is a race to the receptor site. Either perchlorate or iodine will occupy the sites, and get hugged into the cell. Because perchlorate compounds have a relatively short half-life, having iodine on board could help. Before you take iodine or kelp, read more about iodine and salt by clicking here.

Selenium. Drinking perchlorate-contaminated water can cause a deficiency of selenium.

Glutathione or NAC. Having an antioxidant on board can help neutralize the free radical damage that is spawned.

Stop chewing tobacco. It’s a source of perchlorate. It’s been detected in various brands of chewing tobacco.

Stop playing with gun powder. Well, I’m kind of joking, none of us are doing that but we might be ‘playing’ with pool chemicals or chlorinated products. Stop that because that is a source of perchlorate.

Milk. Not sure what to say, perchlorates are found in certain milks.

Feel free to leave general comments below and please post anything that adds to the discussion.

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2015-11-03T18:26:58+00:00

55 Comments

  1. Grey November 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    Thyro-CNV by Apex Energetics has rubidium and they claims that rubidium helps remove perchlorate.

    • Lois johnson November 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      This info is not of much value if you are a person of limited means and have to buy food that is available. I,live in south east New York State and can’t afford to,travel to another state (where would that be, anyway?) to purchase food. Trying to avoid any chemicals in food is already an overwhelming and expensive task that totally consumes my quest for better,health.

  2. Jacinda Krivak November 3, 2015 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for all your great information. I became hypothyroid during my first pregnancy. It has definitely been a struggle and continues to be everyday. I love to read articles that may help me manage hypothyroidism better. Thank you again.

  3. linda November 3, 2015 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    how do we know where it is grown, I always buy organic. and try to buy things grown in the usa and not overseas. However I do not remember seeing a particular state listed.

  4. Bob November 3, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    I’m wondering what geographical areas you are including when you write about the southwest. A quick search revealed that some definitions of southwest do not include any part of Colorado, some definitions include all of Colorado, and some definitions include only the southern part of Colorado. I use Colorado as an example because that’s where I live. But, residents of Utah and Nevada would also wonder about that.

  5. Michelle November 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I was subjected inadvertently to perchlorethylene on a daily basis for an unknown amount of time. As a result I had continuous sinus problems which lead to antibiotics and steroids. After reading this I believe that has led to hashimoto’s.

    I worked in an office above a dry cleaners and the gas was traveling up the side of the building into our ventilation. The day I walked out I was numb from my toes to my knees and fingertips to elbows.

  6. chickie November 3, 2015 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    What about chlorinated drinking water? Showers of hot, chlorinated water?

    • Suzy Cohen November 4, 2015 at 6:14 am - Reply

      They make filters for that at Home Depot and Lowes.

    • You got the idea. Don’t ingest or bathe in chlorinated water. A number of years back, when the summer Olympics came to Atlanta Georgia, some of the European countries wouldn’t agree to participate in swimming and diving events until there were guarantees made that the water would not be chlorinated.

      Fluorine is also quite bad in this regard. Heating (boiling) water can get out most of the chlorine, but doesn’t touch the fluorine.

  7. Judith November 3, 2015 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Dear Suzy,
    I truely think you are overreacting and you are scarring people unnecesarrily. You should not stop people eating / drinking certain things. You should send your warning to those organisations and companies (over)using perchlorate stuff. And the organisations which should be controlling the contamination. That should be your goal. Making people aware, is another thing than scaring people off eating veggies and drinking milk. Wasted energy for you and causing stress for common people reading your article. Sorry but this needed to be said.
    Best regards,
    Judith (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)

    • I strongly disagree. People need to be informed so that they can act with a collective voice, should they so wish.

      It would be nice if major corporations tended to put people first and profits second, but that’s not how our economy tends to work. The food Babe’s work has demonstrated that collective web community action can result in changes in corporate policy. I suggest that you think about what Suzy is doing with this example in mind. Suzy is providing information and it is up to us, both individually and collectively, to demand change.

      Suzy is doing what she can do in an effective manner. It is up to us to do our part.

      I know that thinking about this can be scary. Life can be scary, especially if our way of life is brought into question. When I was younger, I recited the 23rd psalm whenever I had thoughts that I used to scared myself with.

      When you have these thoughts, remind yourself that you are alive and are still in a position to help others. If you are alive, you can help others. Whether we realize it or not helping others is the most important thing that we do in this life. Helping others, is only second to loving G-d, which is expressed by helping one’s fellow beings. We don’t always realize this when we are young. Think about it, if you get afraid.

      If you get scared, you can always get under the covers, recite the 23rd psalm a couple of times, pull the covers up and go to sleep. When you wake up life will tend to be a lot less scary. I know this works. I occasionally used this procedure when I was younger, about 40 years ago. It worked well enough that I haven’t needed to use it since then. However, I haven’t forgotten the procedure, just in case!

      I hope that this helps.

      Love and best wishes!

      Howard

      • K November 10, 2015 at 6:46 pm - Reply

        I am full grown and I still need God. I recite 23rd Psalm and pray the Lord’s Prayer daily. I talk to my Creator ( the Great Physician). Helps immensely. Thank you Doctor, very wise.
        K

      • Mary November 11, 2015 at 6:07 pm - Reply

        I agree

    • Lori November 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately, the big companies have profit as their main focus, not our best interest. When we are warned and can make some better personal choices, we should be thankful for the information, and not blame the messenger. We should all be very grateful for people like Suzy who are willing to put their necks on the line and share this information with us.

    • Mariam November 4, 2015 at 11:51 pm - Reply

      Actually, there’s a lot of truth in this. I have family history of thyroid disease and was diagnosed hypothyroid about 10 yrs ago while living in the Midwest. I corrected my poor diet and exercise habits and without any medical intervention I healed my thyroid. My numbers were picture perfect and I was symptom free for 6 years. Then I moved to NJ…. Within 3 months, I gained 50lbs while eating the same diet (gluten free, organic, whole foods) and doing the same exercise (2 days weight training and running 3-5miles 3 times per week. Diagnosed with Hashimotos and despite doing everything “right” (even completely grain free now and got on ndt a few years ago along with proper supplementation), I can’t heal. The ONLY change is that I live on the east coast and in an area surrounded by farms. I’ve known and my Dr agrees that it’s environmental. I don’t think it’s scaring people, I think it’s helping people like me get the info we need to heal. And my Dr also said he has many patients with the same thing – thyroid disease developed after moving to NJ. 

    • Carol November 5, 2015 at 11:13 am - Reply

      I too have hashimotos and believe me, knowledge is power. I nearly died after being given the wrong diagnosis and drugs in hospital with my penicillin allergy and other dangerous drugs and as a result became allergic to all foods with grains dairy additives pesticides and preservatives – it wasn’t till I lost so much weight down to 5st 10lb after all my hair fell out that I went to a naturopath and other knowledgeable people who knew how to help me – it was damned hard, but I wanted to live and I learnt how to avoid all the wrong foods and drinks – it’s everyone’s choice if your life depends on it whether you act to save yourself or not. Homeopathy helped me to realise how I had been abusing my body with the wrong foods and drugs even if prescribed by doctors! Interestingly though I cannot take supplements or drugs now just whole food.

    • K November 10, 2015 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      So being uninformed is better Judith?

      Even if you take one suggestion away from Suzys articles, e.g. avoiding chlorine to decrease perchlorates in your body, the information is beneficial.

      I assume you read her articles to be informed?

      Suzy has shared a wealth of information over the years that would have cost me a fortune that I don’t have and much research time to try to figure out on my own. Thank you Suzy. You help many people with serious health issues to live better lives.

    • Bill November 18, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      In a somewhat civil and responsible capitalistic system your comments would be heeded, however in our over-reaching anything goes capital markets such is not the case. Corruption rules the day.

  8. Cheryl Breon November 3, 2015 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Suzy, I know you mean well, but man, are you depressing to read! All the things you listed not to eat are what Doug Kaufmann wants us to eat. I’m having a hard enough time limiting my choices SO much and now you say don’t eat or drink water, eggs, fruits or vegetables?? What’s next? Nuts, yogurt, granny apples, grapefruit, all the “healthy” stuff we’ve been told to eat for years. Just eat your fruits and vegetables…how many Americans do that? So, we should stick to junk food, huh? I mean, I know I’m being unfair, but I am so frustrated with all the stuff I shouldn’t eat, why not make a list of things you CAN EAT?? I’m SO tired of being told what’s wrong with everything I put in my mouth….is a banana OK? Not according to Doug, but maybe OK with you. But I’m sure there’s something wrong with everything, so you can’t win.

    • Sandie Isbister November 13, 2015 at 4:42 am - Reply

      You think SHE is depressing? No, she is one of the good guys who actually cares about us ordinary citizens that the commercial industry uses as pawns for their profit, and choose purposefully to keep us ignorant. At our peril.

    • Barb November 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      I totally agree, I read a lot and they say don’t eat this don’t eat that I feel there’s nothing left to eat, it is very frustrating because you want to be healthy. I eat salads everyday now I’m seeing all this stuff about lettuce. So frustrated!

  9. Nancy Nohilly November 3, 2015 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    How am I supposed to buy my food from other states????? I already have hypothyroidism & am taking meds.

    • I have hypothyroidism also. It may or may not be too late for us, though I don’t think that it is. Our job is to inform people about chlorides and fluorides and lobby to get them out of our food, water, and dental products, and to get them eliminated from the fire retardants that are being put in our rugs, clothing, bedding and anywhere else..

      • When I referenced halogen utilization in fire retardants, I forgot to add bromides to the list with fluorides and chlorides. While chlorides are used in fire retardants, bromides are the main halogen used. Basically all of the halogens are capable of disrupting iodine usage in he body.

      • Mary November 11, 2015 at 6:14 pm - Reply

        Agree 100 percent.

        Why are they STILL flourinating us.

        Sorry for the spelling. But do the makers of Synthroid sell flouride?

        What is the connection and how do we get it out of our water!

    • Suzee R November 25, 2015 at 3:43 am - Reply

      Um, how about buying some frozen organic vegetables and fruits that are from other states? Grow your own in a greenhouse or something. It’s not impossible to brainstorm. Suzy is bringing awareness, and you can decide if or how to make a change in your own life. I appreciate her sharing her knowledge without us having to pay for it! Thanks Suzy from a fellow Suzee 🙂

  10. Jana November 3, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Excellent article. Thanks for the info — this was news to me. My question: You wrote, “perchlorates are found in certain milks.” What do you mean by “certain milks”? Are you referring to only dairy products? Only ANIMAL milks, as from a cow or a goat? OR does “certain milks” also include “milks” from plant products, such as almond milk or soy milk? Thanks.

  11. marilyn November 3, 2015 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    Hello Suzy!! I love your articles. I would like your opinion. Can I get off of my Synthroid of 25mcg daily. I have been on it for 7 or eight years. I need to get test for iodine. I switched to sea salt and it does not have iodine, i heard. I asked my Doctor if I could get off and he said no. But I do not believe that is true. I try not to use chemical drugs unless I really need them. Thank you!

  12. Trisha November 3, 2015 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    Suzy,

    GREAT work! Thank YOU!
    Okay, I’ll cut to the chase – I get IT!
    However, I AM a swimmer! It’s in my blood literally as both my mother & grandfather swam.

    Two years ago I was at a health club in CO that had wisely switched from chlorine to saline in their pool. I WISH
    the FDA would mandate such – fat chance.

    I AM on iodine & NDT and that gives me some peace of mind. But I just simply CANNOT give up swimming!
    WHAT’S a swimmer to do ?? I am in the pool 4-6 times a week.

    That being said, I take some iodine before I swim to help block chlorine uptake. But I’m NOT sure what the best approach is? Do you think it’s best BEFORE swimming – or might the clorine overpower the iodine and still get to receptor sites? Or, maybe I should take it AFTER to best minimize the chlorine – or both? Lately, I’ve been splitting my dose in the event I can only absorb so much at one time and DON’T want to excrete any needlessly. At this time, I do not have the $ for a urinary excretion test. I’ve also been taking two Iodiral at hs in hopes of rebuilding my iodine stores then… apart from chlorine or food, etc., which might diminish its absorption (?). I’ve thought of inquiring with Dr. Brownstein directly. Any thoughts?
    Keep up the great work you are doing & thank YOU for your contribution!

  13. Denise Renouf November 3, 2015 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    Well this article is interesting… sounds like we need to clean up this Earth we live on….any suggestions ? Guess we just do the best we can….as far as being careful with our food supplies and water..

  14. Fran November 4, 2015 at 12:35 am - Reply

    Suzy I was wondering what information you could give me on hyperthyroidism? Thanks for your time. Fran

    • Suzy Cohen November 4, 2015 at 6:05 am - Reply

      Please put that in my search box or refer to that particular chapter in Thyroid Healthy book. I’ve covered it, and I know a lot.

  15. Florence DeMayo November 4, 2015 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Dear susie

    I am presently taking thyroid medication and would like to know if your thyroidscript would be
    ok to take with the medication levothyroxine 75 MCG which does not seem to be doing anything other then putting on weight.

    • Suzy Cohen November 10, 2015 at 4:32 am - Reply

      I think you should Thyroid Healthy, it will provide answers to why the levo isn’t working, and what you can do to help yourself. It’s not a simple yes or no.

  16. Kathy November 4, 2015 at 12:43 am - Reply

    Can you chelate perchlorate? Like a metal detox?

  17. Linda B November 4, 2015 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Wow, another doozie! Sounds like the best avenue for defence is offence…. Keep fit and healthy and avoid these substances as much as possible. And, darn….. It’s 30plus degrees here in Brisbane Australia and the pool looked sort of inviting till I read that. ?

  18. Linda B November 4, 2015 at 2:22 am - Reply

    Wow, at 30 plus degrees here in Brisbane Australia, the pool looked kind of inviting till I read that!

  19. elizabeth November 4, 2015 at 3:52 am - Reply

    thank you for your continued study on thyroid and other health problems – i really appreciate your dedication!

  20. Marcia Yaffe November 4, 2015 at 4:07 am - Reply

    Hi. We moved to the east coast, in SC but across the border from Charlotte NC (from Colorado) almost 8 years ago. My daughter has had possible hypothyroidism and ny husband does have it discovered by a Dr who is an Integrative Functional MD where she did blood work like Dr Brownstein recommended. This all happened since we moved out here. My main question is, how long can the percholates stay in your body if you aren’t exposed to it anymore? My daughter worked at a pool for summer job being exposed to those chemicals. My husband only helped her very occasionally. This was in 2008 & 2009. We have a garden here where I have grown organic kale every year since 2009.
    Thanks for your help.
    Marcia

  21. Danielle November 4, 2015 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Suzy,
    This article comes off as very scary. So many negative issues and really not any way to change it. I live in the areas you say I should not eat the food from. I am and have been a competitive swimmer my whole life, I know the chlorine is bad for me but I love to swim, my team is my family, that emotional loss would be devastating to. Do you have any suggestions other than do eat from California and stop doing what I love? I do try to swim in fresh water as much as possible and saline pools but that is not always possible. What is ok?

  22. Janet November 4, 2015 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Would I take Thyroscript in place of my Levothyroxine .112 mg or in addition to my prescription?

    • Suzy Cohen November 10, 2015 at 4:35 am - Reply

      Some people take it at lunchtime, and take the levo in the morning on an empty stomach. It may enhance thyroid hormone levels though so make sure your physician is okay with that, and willing to reduce drug if need be.

  23. Mariam November 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Actually, there’s a lot of truth in this. I have family history of thyroid disease and was diagnosed hypothyroid about 10 yrs ago while living in the Midwest. I corrected my poor diet and exercise habits and without any medical intervention I healed my thyroid. My numbers were picture perfect and I was symptom free for 6 years. Then I moved to NJ…. Within 3 months, I gained 50lbs while eating the same diet (gluten free, organic, whole foods) and doing the same exercise (2 days weight training and running 3-5miles 3 times per week. Diagnosed with Hashimotos and despite doing everything “right” (even completely grain free now and got on ndt a few years ago along with proper supplementation), I can’t heal. The ONLY change is that I live on the east coast and in an area surrounded by farms. I’ve known and my Dr agrees that it’s environmental. I don’t think it’s scaring people, I think it’s helping people like me get the info we need to heal. And my Dr also said he has many patients with the same thing – thyroid disease developed after moving to NJ. 

  24. Laura from Firelight Heritage Farm November 5, 2015 at 12:13 am - Reply

    I really struggle with any kind of chlorate, chloride, chlorine, chloramine, or anything “chlor”, because of a genetic issue that makes it very difficult for my body to remove excess chlorine (and related chemicals) from my body. At its worst, I have anaphylactic shock symptoms from exposure, if I get hypersensitized by too much too often. Day to day, I may have facial, neck, and thoracic swelling, or just digestive issues. Getting the symptoms down to less than that is a major struggle because of the over-exposure to various chlorine compounds in our food supply.

    Organic foods that contain chlorines do not have to be labeled as containing them. Water invariably has it in it, unless it is specifically listed as filtered – so any foods that have water in them (including canned goods, meats, beverages, baked goods, etc), have chlorine in them. Vegetables are treated with chlorine gas or chlorinated water prior to shipment, and then sprayed with chlorinated water in the grocery store. Local foods are no better, they are generally produced with chlorinated water.

    Here’s the thing… If you get too much of one, and start reacting to it, then your body is likely to react to the other, because they are chemically similar. So anyone who is sensitive to chlorine is also going to be sensitive to perchlorates. Even worse, if you get overloaded enough to become hypersensitive, you can start reacting to plastics, because they leach and off-gas some chlorides (and related compounds). Ever try to elimintate plastic from your life? It is also EVERYWHERE (including in clothing, home construction, cars, food packaging, etc).

    Very hard to live with…

    But I have found that foods with nitrates (slow cured, naturally smoked), increasing fruit in my diet, and mushrooms all help in reducing the impact of exposure. I’m not sure if nitrates lose the sodium which then binds with the chlorine to safely leave the body or what, but that is the only thing I can theorize there – but they definitely help!

    Mushrooms are known in the wild to remediate chemical exposure, and while they do concentrate some elements in their fruiting bodies (the mushrooms that are picked), they will change chemical compounds, so herbicides, for example, don’t show up in the mushrooms even if the fungus is exposed to it (not sure what it changes to, or if it is harmful or not, but mushrooms are known to have mitigating effects on chemicals). I don’t know how they help reduce the effects of chemical exposure in the body, only that they do, and that pretty much any mushroom will do it, though some more than others (Agaricus mushrooms seem to be particularly good at it, as are puffballs).

    I also don’t know the mechanism behind fruit helping, but it also does. Those three things are things that if I get them, the reactions go down, and if I do not, they go up.

    Not sure if the nitrates would help with perchlorates, but I am pretty sure mushrooms would, and fruit helps the metabolism in many ways, so it may or may not help.

    I appreciate the info, because this will help me to narrow down additional exposures that may be messing me up. Thanks!

  25. bmccoy November 5, 2015 at 1:25 am - Reply

    How much & what kind of iodine do Hashis need ?

  26. karen November 6, 2015 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Dear Suzy, you’re fabulous!

    You provide information on your own and really it’s at everyone’s fingertips to either take it or leave it. There has been so much you have provided that has helped me and others, thank you for doing that. This article is exactly what we as a society need to hear, learn and then it’s up to us what to do with the information. I do think it’s interesting that there is this epidemic now of thyroid problems and I link it to exactly what you’re saying about our water, chlorine. For 20 some years we had a well in Ak, no chlorine no hypothyroidism. We now have city water and low and behold 5 years later, diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Fluoride is another one of the problems and again my family was raised on it, it did not have fluoride and none of my children have cavities.
    Thanks again for what you do Karen.

  27. chickie November 20, 2015 at 3:38 am - Reply

    What about the stuff I grow in my own garden and my fruit trees? I try to grow organically but is my produce contaminated no matter what I do because I live on the east coast?
    I was diagnosed with Hashimotos in the 1990s.

  28. Donna November 25, 2015 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Hi just wondering if your thyroid script would benefit me. Also have low cortisol levels in Adrenal Gland after being tested by endocrinologist, Have all symptoms of both issues that you listed on your article sight. Also dealing with lyme.I am on a natural cortisol to from Nu Skin and under a homeopathic Dr. Thank you Donna

  29. Tina November 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    What if your children are competitive swimmers?

  30. Bonnie November 30, 2015 at 8:44 am - Reply

    You mention playing with gunpowder, so is handling manufactured ammunition an area of concern? Does one have to touch the gunpowder directly for exposure, i.e. skin contact or breathing it?

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