A chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been linked to an increase in thyroid disease, according to findings recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives.
PFOA is found in common household products such as non-stick cookware, water-resistant fabrics and strain-resistant carpet coatings.
The British researchers looked at 3966 American adults aged 20 and above whose blood serum was sampled between 1999 and 2006 for PFOA. They found that those with the highest PFOA concentrations (above 5.7 nanograms per milliliter) were more than twice as likely to report current thyroid disease than individuals with the lowest levels (below 4.0ng/ml).
Thyroid diseases are much more common in women than men, but in terms of the link between PFOA and thyroid disease, the researchers found no difference between the sexes.
Although the data showed an association between PFOA and thyroid disease, scientists cautioned that the link could be complex and indirect and more research is needed to understand the potential health risks of exposure to the substance.