Common Household Chemicals May Impair Young Girls’ Thyroids: New Research

There are some worrisome findings from recent scientific research that studied the effects of common household chemicals on children.  The study revealed that young girls exposed to common household chemicals–more specifically, endocrine-disrupting chemicals of concern known as “phthalates” that are widely used in consumer products such as plastic toys, vinyl shower curtains, household building materials like vinyl flooring, nail polish, and shampoos, to name a few, may suffer the effects of impaired thyroids.  As impaired thyroids at a young age can spell serious health consequences, including cognitive problems, it is recommended that caregivers of young girls do a clean sweep of the house and remove all products that contain chemicals of concern, especially phthalates.


 

Household chemicals may impair thyroid in young girls

Early childhood exposures to specific phthalates were associated with depressed thyroid function in girls at age 3, according to scientists. Phthalates, a class of chemicals thought to disrupt the endocrine system, are widely used in consumer products from plastic toys to household building materials to shampoos.

Early childhood exposures to specific phthalates were associated with depressed thyroid function in girls at age 3, according to scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health…

The study is the first to assess the link between phthalate exposure and thyroid function in children over time. Results appear the journal Environment International.

Measures of five phthalates and two thyroid hormones were collected from 229 women during pregnancy and 229 children at age 3 enrolled in the Mothers and Newborns Study at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. In girls, lower levels of the active thyroid hormone free thyroxin (FT4) were associated with metabolites of mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP), mono isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP), and monoethyl phthalate (MEP).

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“The thyroid acts as the master controller of brain development. Thyroid hormones set the schedule, and if the timing is out of synch, there may be later consequences in the brain. The thyroid disruptions we see in this study, although they fall within the normal range, could explain some of the cognitive problems we see in children exposed to phthalates and we are currently investigating that. As we know from lead, even small exposures can make a big difference.”

-Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak, Senior researcher and professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School

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Previous Mailman School studies have found links between prenatal exposure to phthalates and risk for lower IQ at age 7, childhood asthma, and mental and motor development problems in preschool children.

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“Parents with young children should avoid using products containing phthalates such as shampoos, nail polish, and vinyl flooring.”

-Dr. Pam Factor-Litvak, Senior researcher and professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School


Source

Journal Reference: Rachelle Morgenstern, Robin M. Whyatt, Beverly J. Insel, Antonia M. Calafat, Xinhua Liu, Virginia A. Rauh, Julie Herbstman, Gary Bradwin, Pam Factor-Litvak. Phthalates and thyroid function in preschool age children: Sex specific associations. Environment International, 2017; 106: 11

DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.05.007


 

 Also:

Household chemicals may impair thyroid in young girls

Science Daily

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How Household Chemicals Can Hurt Young Girls’ Health

Time