There is growing evidence linking pesticide exposure to thyroid disease. In a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers followed 16,500 women on farms who were exposed to pesticides. They found that 12.5 percent already had diagnosable thyroid disease (mostly hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid glands) compared with 1 to 8 percent in the general population.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found in the throat. It plays an important role in regulating metabolism and energy in the body. Because of the gland’s vital link to maintaining healthy body weight, exposure to pesticides may play a role in weight gain.
The researchers found that organochlorine-based pesticides are linked to a significantly increased risk of hypothyroidism. They also found that exposure to fungus killers doubled to tripled the likelihood of experiencing hypothyroidism.
This new research reminds us of the vital link between the environment and our health and the importance of avoiding toxic chemical as much as we possibly can. If you’re using pesticides on your lawns, flowers, or in your home, you may wish to reconsider due to the increasing number of health conditions linked to their use.
Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.