5 Everyday Chemicals Not Doing Your Thyroid Any Favors


Thyroid function can impact your body in a number of ways. It can cause anxiety, irritability, depression, weight gain, brain fog, and fatigue. The thyroid is often a mystery to us until it’s functioning improperly and we’re left dealing with the symptoms. Chemicals in our everyday life can impact the function of this highly important gland located at the base of the neck. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Bromines

Bromines are found in a host of chemicals that wind up in our everyday lives if we’re not careful. They compete with iodine for the same receptors in the body so if you have too much bromine, your body cannot hold onto the iodine that it needs for proper thyroid function. Pesticides, specifically methyl bromide, is a bromine. As are dough conditioners like potassium bromate and brominated vegetable oils found in soft drinks like Mountain Dew, Sun Drop, and Squirt.

Read more about toxins and iodine deficiency

2. PCBs
Exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the womb can lead to a reduction in levels of infant thyroid hormone. Though the industrial chemical was banned in the U.S. for use in the 1970s, it’s a toxin that still persists in our environment today.

3. Soy

Phytoestrogens found in soy proteins have been found to inhibit thyroid function. Researchers have found that infants fed soy formula had a prolonged increase in their thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.

Read more about thyroid function

4. Phthalates
Plastic softening phthalates have been shown to reduce thyroid levels in men. These chemicals are commonly found in plastics and consumer products and may be hidden under the seemingly innocent word fragrance on ingredient labels. You can reduce your exposure by purchasing toiletries and makeups that are free of phthalates and by eating unprocessed whole foods.

Read more about fragrance

5. Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) is an industrial chemical used to make non-stick cookware, microwave popcorn bags, stain resistant clothing, and many more products. PFOA does not readily break down in the body and it’s been linked to low thyroid activity in animal studies.

Read more about choosing healthy cookware



By Sara Novak| February 19, 2016
Categories:  Care

About the Author

Sara Novak

Sara Novak

Sara Novak specializes in health and food policy writing for Discovery Health. Her work has also been featured on TreeHugger, HowStuffWorks.com, TLC Cooking, and Animal Planet. After graduating from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Sara headed up the communication efforts for a national scholarship program in Washington, D.C. Sara has also handled copy writing and public relations for a global environmental consulting firm. She loves fiddling with healthful recipes, traveling, and exploring life atop her yoga mat. Today, Sara lives in Charleston with her husband and two lovable cocker spaniels, Madison and Bella.

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