Things That Cause Thyroid Problems
9 Things In Your Home That Cause Thyroid Problems
Thyroid disease and nonstick chemicals are back in the news again, once again providing a warning that we should all scan our houses for hidden sources of these chemicals.
In a 2014 study, published in the journal Epidemology, scientists found that more than 10% of people exposed to drinking water contaminated with perfluoroctanoic acid (or PFOA, made by Dow Chemical) reported having some sort of thyroid problem. Comparing blood levels and years of exposure with incidence of thyroid problems, the researchers were able to say that higher PFOA exposure was associated with thyroid problems. The study looked at more than 30,000 people.
PFOA is one of a group of problematic nonstick chemicals that fall into the perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) class, a family of fluoride-containing chemicals with unique properties that make things stick- and stain-resistant. The problem is, these compounds don't break down easily and can readily be found inside of our bodies. In addition to thyroid disease, different PFCs have been linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, and weakened immune systems. Here are 9 common household items containing nonstick chemicals that you should avoid.
Some companies add nonstick chemicals to floss to make it glide more easily between your teeth.
Avoid it: Don't give up flossing—it's important. Instead, choose a natural type, like those from Radius.
Pots and pans
Sure, it's great to not have to scrub pots and pans after cooking. But all of those scratches and chips in your nonstick cookware mean you're probably eating nonstick chemicals along with your meal.
Avoid it: Replace any nicked-up nonstick cookware with American-made cast-iron, enamel, glass, or stainless steel pots and pans.
Nonstick chemicals are really good at repelling water, hence their use in rain gear such as boots, umbrellas, and raincoats.
Avoid it: For safer outerwear, look for jackets treated with polyurethane, not nonstick chemicals. Wax-coated clothing and boots made from real rubber are increasingly popular safer options.
Pizza boxes and fast-food containers
Need another reason to avoid takeout? Here you go! Many food containers are coated with nonstick chemicals to keep grease from leaching through. (You can thank us when you drop those first 5 pounds!)
Avoid it: Cut back on fast food and cook from scratch more at home.
Microwavable popcorn bags
Popcorn companies don't want the grease bleeding through bags and onto your pants, so most coat the inside of bags with grease-repellent nonstick chemicals to keep that oily mix inside the bag.
Avoid it: Make your own microwave popcorn using this trick, or choose Quinn Popcorn—the brand doesn't use nasty chemicals in its bags or ingredients.
Furniture and carpeting
Nonstick chemicals hide under names like Scotchgard, Teflon, Stainmaster, and others. Many nonstick chemicals are used as treatments to repel anything you might spill on upholstered couches. Sounds handy, until you realize the stuff could make you sick.
Avoid it: When shopping for furniture, ask to make sure it's not coated with a nonstick treatment that repels stains. If you're in the market for new flooring, avoid carpeting and opt for untreated hardwood, then finish it yourself with a safer product like Vermont Natural Coatings.
An astounding 64 billion paper cups and plates are tossed away each year. Aside from the waste factor, many are also coated with nonstick chemicals to prevent leakage.
Avoid it: Just use regular glasses and plates instead, and wash them in the dishwasher when you're done to save water.
Nonstick chemicals could even hide out in personal care products. Luckily, unlike clothing and furniture, personal care products must have an ingredient list.
Avoid it: Check ingredient labels for anything beginning with perfluoro—and avoid it!
No matter how hard we try to avoid nonstick chemicals, they'll probably still wind up in our dust because they're used in so many different products. Household dust also harbors nasty plastic chemicals, BPA, and flame retardants.
Avoid it: Equip yourself with a vacuum with a HEPA filter and use it regularly, and opt for homemade, nontoxic household cleaners [source]