However in addition to these established risk factors ongoing research is uncovering the link between environmental chemicals and thyroid function.
Could daily exposure to harmful environmental chemicals have negative effects on your thyroid?
Like it or not widespread global industrialisation over the last few decades has flooded the planet with a cocktail of dangerous environmental chemicals.
Contamination is widespread, and poses a serious threat to the quality of the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Environmental health experts warn exposure to even very small concentrations or a complex mixture can interfere with reproduction, immune health and nervous system function.
Over time exposure to risky environmental chemicals can lead to a diverse range of health problems such as hypothyroidism, chemical sensitivities, neurodegenerative disorders, even some cancers.
Environmental chemicals and thyroid function
The thyroid is extremely vulnerable to the effects of hazardous environmental chemicals. It should therefore come as little surprise that thyroid problems are escalating as we become increasingly exposed to environmental pollution. The incidence of thyroid disease, most notably thyroid cancer and thyroid autoimmune disease is increasing substantially.
There is a wide array of environmental chemicals that harm thyroid health. Termed ‘thyroid-disrupting chemicals’ these pollutants have the ability to change the way thyroid hormones act in the body. They can also directly attack the thyroid, block uptake of iodine in the thyroid, trigger thyroid antibody production leading to an autoimmune thyroid disorder and increase the risk for serious thyroid conditions.
This list of the most hazardous thyroid disrupting chemicals is a little daunting but gives you an idea of what we are up against. This chemicals are all around us so we need to look at minimising our exposure as much as possible.
- pesticides found in the food and water supply
- polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in older paints, electrical equipment and building materials
- heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury
- dioxins and dioxin-like compounds from the environment
- phthalates found in vinyl and plastic products
- polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) flame retardants present in carpets, clothing, soft furnishings, electronics and plastics
- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) present in air pollution
- bisphenol A (BPA) found in a variety of food and beverage packaging
- bromides used in oils to stabilise citrus flavoured soft drinks,commercial bakery products, some flours and is also found in pesticides
- halogens which include fluoride, chlorine, perchlorate and bromide. Halogens compete for the same receptor sites as iodine with excessive intake crowding out optimal iodine activity.
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