These chemicals can impact the Thyroids ability to produce hormones T3 and T4. Just as the title implies, disrupting the production. They can also be triggers for the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s.
Here are 12 of the worst thyroid hormone disrupters and some tips on how to avoid them:
How to avoid it? Go fresh instead of canned – many food cans are lined with BPA – or research which companies don’t use BPA or similar chemicals in their products. Avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do – look for BPA free.
Dioxins can disrupt the delicate ways that both male and female sex hormone signaling occurs in the body.
How to avoid it? That’s pretty difficult, since the ongoing industrial release of dioxin has meant that the American food supply is widely contaminated. Products including meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter are most likely to be contaminated, but you can cut down on your exposure by eating fewer animal products.
Herbicide atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs. Atrazine is widely used on the majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently it’s a pervasive drinking water contaminant.
How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and get a drinking water filter certified to remove atrazine.
Chemicals called phthalates can trigger what’s known as “death-inducing signaling” making them die earlier than they should. Yep, that’s cell death.
How to avoid it? A good place to start is to avoid plastic food containers, children’s toys (some phthalates are already banned in kid’s products), and plastic wrap made from PVC, which has the recycling label #3. Some personal care products also contain phthalates, so read the labels and avoid products that simply list added “fragrance,” since this catch-all term sometimes means hidden phthalates.
Who needs food tainted with rocket fuel?! That’s right, perchlorate, a component in rocket fuel, contaminates much of our produce and milk, according to EWG and government test data. When perchlorate gets into your body it competes with the nutrient iodine, which the thyroid gland needs to make thyroid hormones. Basically, this means that if you ingest too much of it you can end up altering your thyroid hormone balance. This is important because it’s these hormones that regulate metabolism in adults and are critical for proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.
How to avoid it? You can reduce perchlorate in your drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis filter. As for food, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid perchlorate, but you can reduce its potential effects on you by making sure you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Eating iodized salt is one good way.
What do breast milk and polar bears have in common? In 1999, some Swedish scientists studying women’s breast milk discovered something totally unexpected: The milk contained an endocrine-disrupting chemical found in fire retardants, and the levels had been doubling every five years since 1972! These incredibly persistent chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, have since been found to contaminate the bodies of people and wildlife around the globe – even polar bears. These chemicals can imitate thyroid hormones in our bodies and disrupt their activity. That can lead to lower IQ, among other significant health effects. While several kinds of PBDEs have now been phased out, this doesn’t mean that toxic fire retardants have gone away. PBDEs are incredibly persistent, so they’re going to be contaminating people and wildlife for decades to come.
How to avoid it? It’s virtually impossible, but passing better toxic chemical laws that require chemicals to be tested before they go on the market would help reduce our exposure. A few things that can you can do in the meantime include: use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can cut down on toxic-laden house dust; avoid reupholstering foam furniture; take care when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDEs).
Lead is one heavy metal you want to avoid. It’s well known that lead is toxic, especially to children. Lead harms almost every organ system in the body and has been linked to a staggering array of health effects, including permanent brain damage, lowered IQ, hearing loss, miscarriage, premature birth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage and nervous system problems. But few people realize that one other way that lead may affect your body is by disrupting your Thyroid hormones
How to avoid it? Keep your home clean and well maintained. Crumbling old paint is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it carefully. A good water filter can also reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water.
Arsenic messes with your hormones! Specifically, it can interfere with normal hormone functioning in the system that regulates how our bodies process sugars and carbohydrates. What does that mean for you? Well, weight gain/loss, protein wasting, immunosuppression, insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), osteoporosis, growth retardation and high blood pressure.
How to avoid it? Reduce your exposure by using a water filter that lowers arsenic levels
That sushi you are eating could be hazardous to your health. Mercury, a naturally occurring but toxic metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily though burning coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood. Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since metal can interfere with fetal brain development. In addition, thyroid hormones don’t work so well when they’ve got mercury stuck to them!
How to avoid it? For people who still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with lots of healthy fats but without a side of toxic mercury, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices.
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
The perfluorinated chemicals used to make non-stick cookware can stick to you. Perfluorochemicals are so widespread and extraordinarily persistent that 99 percent of Americans have these chemicals in their bodies. Exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol, among other health issues. Scientists are still figuring out how PFOA affects the human body, but animal studies have found that it can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.
How to avoid it? Skip non-stick pans as well as stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.
Neurotoxic compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were luckily never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous systems of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.
How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and find the fruits and vegetables that have the fewest pesticide residues.
Chemicals called glycol ethers, which are common solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics. Worried? You should be. The European Union says that some of these chemicals “may damage fertility or the unborn child.” Studies of painters have linked exposure to certain glycol ethers to blood abnormalities and lower sperm counts. And children who were exposed to glycol ethers from paint in their bedrooms had substantially more asthma and allergies.
How to avoid it? Healthy Cleaning agents and avoid products with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME).
We live in a toxic world and trying to escape from every single exposure is impossible. My advice for patients is to improve their bodies detoxification pathways. Meaning, improve the way your body get’s rid of toxins. (I cover this in my eBook) Secondly , do your best at reducing exposure to toxins and don’t get stressed out over it.
If you’re struggling with a Thyroid problem and need some help getting to the cause of the problem, schedule a case review.