The thyroid gland handles the production of thyroid hormones that regulate the metabolism of the body. Like all parts of the body, its tissues can develop carcinoma when exposed to various toxic substances. Thyroid cancer, in particular, has the fastest rising rates among all types of cancer. The most common form of this disease is papillary thyroid cancer.
Experts theorize that environmental factors are partly responsible for the increasing frequency of thyroid cancers. Flame retardant chemicals are one of their primary suspects. Companies have been adding increasing amounts of these chemicals to the consumer products they manufacture. Their intended reason is to reduce the flammability of the items in question, which are often fire hazards. However, in their attempt to improve the safety of their household products, the companies inadvertently endangered the health of consumers by using chemicals that affect the thyroid. (Related: You know probiotics are essential to gut health, but did you know they DETOXIFY your system too?)
Researchers from Duke University took samples of house dust from the homes of 140 participants. The latter were all required to have occupied their home for 11 years so that the researchers could study their long-term consequence in much better shape. The participants were also evenly split between thyroid cancer patients and healthy people.
The researchers evaluated the level of flame retardant in the house dust samples. Then they compared that with the rates of thyroid cancer at the time.
They also matched up the participants according to the latter's age, body mass index, ethnicity, and sex. They also included education level, household income, and level of education.
In their paper, the Duke researchers discovered that the risk of papillary thyroid cancer increased alongside the exposure level to flame retardants. The same held true regarding the severity of the disease.
Based on their findings, the research team believed there is a link between increasing levels of flame retardants and the recent rise in thyroid cancer incidences.
Earlier studies warned that certain flame retardants interfere with the endocrine system. The thyroid gland is part of this vital system.
The flame retardants are similar to thyroid hormones. When these endocrine disruptors are absorbed by accident, they affect the function and balance of the organ.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) comprise a class of such fire retardants that impair the endocrine system. Two, in particular, are very closely linked with thyroid cancer: tris(2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP) is used in chairs, couches, nursing pillows, and strollers, while decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209) is found in carpet backings, furniture cushions, mattresses, and upholstery textiles.
High levels of BDE-209 levels in household dust was linked with much higher chances of thyroid cancer.
The Duke researchers checked this connection by sampling blood from the participants and examining the sample for key biomarkers of PBDE and BDE209 flame retardants. They found that participants who lived in houses with high amounts of TCEP were more than 400 percent more likely to have thyroid cancer.
Meanwhile, participants with the highest concentration of BDE209 are 14 times more vulnerable to thyroid cancer. Even if they did not have the BRAF V600E gene mutation, they still experience a much higher chance of developing papillary thyroid cancer. Women are also much more prone to getting this kind of aggressive cancer.
Find out what other diseases can be triggered by toxic compounds in your household by visiting Chemicals.news.