Ubiquitous Chemicals Linked to Thyroid Problems

chemical_thyroid_problems_linkExposure to chemicals commonly found in carpets and cosmetics have been associated with thyroid function problems, according to a recent study.

The class of chemicals known as perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, are ubiquitous and found in fabrics, carpets, paper coatings, and cosmetics. PFCs break down slowly, which means they remain in the body for a long time, according to HealthDay News.

The researchers analyzed data from over 1,100 participants of the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study analyzed the levels of four PFCs and participants’ thyroid function, HealthDay News explained. The research revealed that increased levels of PFCs in the body can alter thyroid function in both men and women and that PFCs may increase risks for mild hypothyroidism in women, according HealthDay News. When the thyroid gland produces insufficient hormones, hypothyroidism occurs and can lead to fatigue, mental depression, weight gain, feeling cold, dry skin and hair, constipation, and menstrual irregularities.

The study was published online, July 17, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. “Our study is the first to link PFC levels in the blood with changes in thyroid function using a nationally representative survey of American adults,” study co-author Dr. Chien-Yu Lin, of En Chu Kong Hospital in Taiwan, said in a journal news release. “Although some PFCs … have been phased out of production by major manufacturers, these endocrine-disrupting chemicals remain a concern because they linger in the body for extended periods,” Lin said. “Too little information is available about the possible long-term effects these chemicals could have on human health.”

We have previously written that PFCs, which can also be found in microwave popcorn bags, destroy the efficacy of some critical childhood vaccinations. That study was published in Journal of the American Medical Association. PFCs are also present in furniture, food packaging, stain-resistance coatings, and fire-fighting foams.

Prior studies have also linked PFCs to early-onset menopause, which can leave women at a potential increased risk for heart disease, according to a prior study from the West Virginia University School of Medicine. Industry maintains the chemical’s safety.

In animal studies, PFCs have been linked to cancers and thyroid disease and the PFCs found in nonstick frying pans have killed birds and created flu-like symptoms in people when under high heat. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also discussed its concern over PFCs’ long-term effects in humans and on wildlife and we previously wrote about a Boston University School of Public Health study that found a potential link between PFCs and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder in children.

Of concern is that PFCs can take years to be even partially eliminated once absorbed in the body.

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