Thyroid and Chemicals

Hypothyroidism is often linked with chemical and heavy metal toxicity.  These chemicals are found in our food and in our environment and seep into our bodies and can cause thyroid or other endocrine disorders.

The ways in which chemicals affect thyroid function include:

  1. Changing  the thyroid hormone metabolism
  2. Intoxicating the thyroid gland changing function and regulation
  3. Increasing production of thyroid antibodies (leading to autoimmune thyroid disorders)
  4. Interaction with thyroid carrier proteins
  5. Blocking iodine uptake by the thyroid gland, decreasing its ability to change T4 to T3

Toxins in the Environment

Polychlorinated biphenols  or PCB’s were once used in electrical transformers, capacitors, plasticizers and adhesives. They were outlawed in the late 1970’s, but many environmentalists have shown that that they still pollute our land and water.  Fish, dairy, and meat often contain this toxin and when we eat these animals, the toxin transfers into our body.  PCBs alters liver function which affects the enzyme that metabolizes thyroid hormone.  These chemicals also directly attack the thyroid gland and thyroid hormone carrier proteins.

Pesticides have also been linked to thyroid disease and Americans are exposed to pesticides everyday. Pesticides pollute our air, soil, food, and water.  Pesticides sprayed on fruits have been found to alter thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and alter thyroid peroxidase enzyme to create thyroid nodules.

Pentachlorophenol or (PCP) is a chemical used in industrial and agriculture; we are often exposed to it without our knowledge.  This chemical has shown to alter thyroid cells to form goiters.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical many of us are familiar with due to water bottles and plastic containers.   It is another common chemical that we are exposed to everyday through the lining of metal food cans, dental sealants, and plastic bottles and containers.  At very low doses consistent there are links to changes in thyroid hormones.

Cadmium is a component of cigarette smoke.  It is in the air, soil, and water of most cities. Even with cigarettes being banned in restaurants and bars, we are still exposed through cigarette smoke.  It has still been found in contaminated soil, air pollution and water contamination.  Cadmium decreases thyroid function.

Mercury is also linked to thyroid disease because is depletes selenium.   Mercury, which is found in fish, blocks the absorption of selenium, a mineral that is essential for proper thyroid function.

We are exposed to lead on a daily basis through our food, air and water.  One study compared men and women’s blood levels of lead and mercury to changes in thyroid hormones and discovered women were more affected by the heavy metals.

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) is found in stain and water resistant coatings for carpet, furniture, fast-food containers, paints, and foams.  Once again, this is a chemical we are exposed to on a daily basis without knowing it.  These chemicals build up in our adipose tissue, or fat, and alter thyroid function.


All of these chemicals affect are found in our environment and we are exposed to on a regular basis.  As we continually exposed to them, we continue to build up the toxins in the body.  These toxins can then disrupt thyroid and endocrine functions.  Contact Becca Walters for more information.



Marchese, Marianne, ND. Longevity Medical Health Center. “Environmental Links to Environment”  2013.


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