The toxins are in a family of chemicals called perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs. They are compounds used to manufacture fabrics, carpets, paper coatings, cosmetics and a variety of other products. All of us have PFCs in our blood, according to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Because these chemicals break down very slowly, it takes a long time for PFCs to leave the body.
A study of more than 1,100 Americans examined the blood levels of four different PFCs as well as how they impacted thyroid function. It showed that women exposed to more PFCs had slowed thyroid function.
“Although some PFCs such as PFOS have been phased out of production by major manufacturers, these endocrine-disrupting chemicals remain a concern because they linger in the body for extended periods,” says researcher Chien-Yu Lin. “Too little information is available about the possible long-term effects these chemicals could have on human health.”
According to the Washington Toxics Coalition, to protect your thyroid from these chemicals, you should:
- Avoid pans coated with Teflon®.
- Don’t eat foods like pizza or microwave popcorn packaged in grease-resistant paper products.
- Don’t use cosmetics or personal care products made with Teflon® or that include ingredients containing words “perfluoro” or “fluoro.” These chemicals may be present in moisturizers, eye make-up and dental floss.