Issue #275  January 26, 2015

Welcome to KnowYourThyroid.

With thyroid disease on the rise, Kim Hookem-Smith is going to explain why some common products we use everyday are harmful to our thyroids.




After McDonald’s revealed the 19 ingredients that go into its french fries, and E-cigarettes come under fire for containing formaldehyde we investigated some other common products that contain unsavoury ingredients


The more advanced society has become, the more handy time-saving, elbow-grease-reducing, fun-promoting things have been created to make life better.

But from delicious French fries, ready in minutes, to E-cigarettes that let us enjoy the thrill of smoking without the tobacco, we’re increasingly becoming aware that there could be some negatives to balance out the positives of fast-ness and fun.E-cigarettes have been found to contain levels of formaldehyde higher than cigarettes (ITN)

It’s been revealed this week that researchers have discovered some E-cigarettes contain levels of the human carcinogen (cancer causing chemical) formaldehyde far in excess of normal cigarettes. And they’ve warned that we cannot know the true health concerns of ‘vaping’ for another 10 or 15 years of use.

Should we be willing to take the risk?

The news comes shortly after McDonald’s explained a list of 19 things that go into making its French fries. Not, as we might have thought, as simple as potato, oil and salt.

Instead, just the frying oil contains a whole array of ingredients from preservatives to flavourings – some of which are not particuarly good for our health.

Sure no one ever said McDonald’s or E-cigarettes are healthy, but we could at least expect them not to be harmful.

But the more we looked into this, the more common products we use every day popped up as potentially containing ingredients that could do our health serious damage. Apart from the various cleaning products containing caustic and harsh ingredients, there’s a few more unexpected products to avoid:

1. Popcorn flavourings.
Why? Diacetyl. This is used to flavour some of the butter toppings but is so dangerous to the respiratory system when inhaled it causes a condition named ‘popcorn lung’.

2. Plastic containers
Why? Phthalates. Found in plastics from children’s toys to food containers to cling film, these can be hard to avoid but they are feared to put the male reproductive system at risk, raise the risk of testicular cancer and disrupt the thyroid.The non-stick on your pans is chemical-based (REX)

3. Non-stick pans
Why? Perfluorinated Chemicals. Though the jury’s out on this one, some chemicals associated with the non-stick coating on cooking pans have been linked to thyroid and kidney problems. In most cases they’re probably totally safe but if you have any concerns in those areas it might be worth going for cast iron or stainless steel pans instead.

4. Artificial Sweeteners
Why? Aspartame. Despite being a controversial ingredient, artificial sweetener aspartame is found in everything from low calorie drinks to chewing gum. It’s been linked to a string of health problems including depression, cancer, Parkinsons and asthma. Experts have also claimed that other artificial sweeteners, used as low-calorie alternatives to sugar trick the body into craving more calories and can actually cause weight gain.

5. Antiperspirants
Why? Imidazolindinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin and aluminium. The first two of these chemicals are involved in making formaldehyde and are linked to joined pain, asthma and cancer, while aluminium has been linked to brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s.Naphtalene moth balls (REX)

6. Mothballs
Why? Either p-dichlorobenzene or naphthalene, depending on the type. These are both toxic and can cause dizziness and skin reactions. Prolonged exposure can cause liver damage. There are green alternatives out there, though, so do your research to keep your clothes hole-free.

7. McDonald’s Fries
Why? Sodium acid pyrophosphate. Just one of the ingredients listed in the fries, this is used for keeping that lovely yellow colour and is listed as hazardous for ingestion by the chemical industry. Not great for lunch, then.

8. Antibacterial Handsoap
Why? Triclosan. This is feared to disrupt our hormones and has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.

9. Unsustainable fish
Why? Mercury. There are plenty of reasons not to eat unsustainable fish but one of them is your health. Some fish store mercury in their bodies from polluted waters and it’s very toxic to humans. The Natural Resources Defense Council has an excellent list of fish by their mercury levels., including all associated social media, is for informational purposes only and
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