A study links thyroid disease with human exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is a persistent organic chemical used in industrial and consumer goods including most nonstick cookware and stain- and water-resistant coatings for carpets and fabrics.
The study included nearly 4000 adults aged 20 and older whose blood serum was sampled between 1999 and 2006 for PFOA.
The researchers found that the individuals with the highest PFOA concentrations were more than twice as likely to report current thyroid disease.
Previous animal studies carried out by other scientists have shown that the compounds can affect the function of the mammalian thyroid hormone system. This system is essential for maintaining heart rate, regulating body temperature and supporting many other body functions, including metabolism, reproduction, digestion and mental health.