Which Chemicals Cause Thyroid Problems?

September 15, 2020

environmental causes of thyroid problems

Thyroid disease numbers have spiked within the past few decades. Here are some environmental causes of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

How Environmental Toxins Harm the Thyroid?

The thyroid gland is vulnerable to damage from external factors like environmental toxins because many environmental toxins have a structure similar to thyroid hormones. Also, the thyroid gland has a high affinity for halogens and metals. It can be affected by toxins containing halogens, or heavy metals.

What chemicals cause thyroid problems?

Many industrial chemicals interfere with the hypothalamus-pituitary thyroid (HPT) axis. They include Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), Perchlorate, Bisphenol-A, and phthalates.

What Types of Toxins Affect the Thyroid?

Types of environmental toxins affecting the thyroid gland are:

  • Heavy metals: Aluminum, cadmium, lead, and mercury
  • Household toxins: Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), triclosan, Bisphenol A (BPA), and phthalates used in various household items can adversely affect thyroid gland functioning.
  • Industrial chemicals: Industrial chemicals like dioxin, perchlorate, perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) affect thyroid function negatively.
  • Agricultural agents: Chemicals found in pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides weaken thyroid function and cause hypothyroidism.

What medications can affect your thyroid?

Medications that affect your thyroid are:

  • Increased hepatic enzymes from antiepileptic medications affect T4 and T3
  • Imatinib, used for cancer treatment may increase the hepatic metabolism of thyroid hormone
  • Drugs that increase thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) levels reduce the availability of FT4
  • Amiodarone impairs converting T4 to T3
  • Glucocorticoids and some beta-blockers can inhibit T4 to T3 de-iodination

Can lead poisoning cause thyroid problems?

High levels of lead in the blood may affect thyroid physiology, especially in patients occupationally exposed to lead. It can cause depressed thyroid function and elevated TSH in such cases.

Can heavy metals cause thyroid problems?

The heavy metals that impact the thyroid function are:

  • Cadmium – Increased exposure may cause thyroid cancer
  • Lead – May cause de-iodination of T4
  • Mercury – Accumulates in the thyroid can inhibit thyroid hormone production
  • Aluminum – Can trigger an immune response producing antibodies that can target the thyroid gland

5 Tips for Reducing Exposure to Thyroid-Disrupting Toxins

Some tips to reduce exposure to thyroid-disrupting toxins:

    • Have optimal levels of iodine and selenium in your body
    • Use a water filter at home since municipal tap water can contain toxins like chlorine, and thyroid can be adversely affected by it
    • Eat organic food as much as possible
    • Avoid using synthetic antibacterial products and plastics
    • Avoid using nonstick cookware

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