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The thyroid threat in food packaging

Fruit in plastic container

The potential toxins contained in food packaging have begun to concern experts. A look at how one of these chemicals may harm your thyroid function is particularly worrying.

When French scientists analyzed the effects of bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic ingredient, on the thyroid gland in animals, they found that it may lead to hypothyroidism in mothers and children.

“Our study is the first to show that BPA can alter thyroid function of pregnant animals and their offspring in a long-gestation species with similar regulation of thyroid function as humans,” says researcher Catherine Viguié, who is with the Toxalim Research Center in Food Toxicology in Toulouse, France. “Because of the potential consequences of maternal/fetal thyroid disruption on neural and cognitive development, we think that our study warrants the need for further investigations on the effect of BPA on thyroid function.”

BPA has been used in plastic water bottles and was recently removed from plastic bottles used by babies. Although many studies have shown that it alters endocrine functions that hurt human health, most of that research has looked at the effects on the reproductive organs.

There is now a growing body of studies that suggest BPA can harm a wide variety of glands including the thyroid. The researchers examined the consequences of BPA exposure on sheep (which are considered a good model for what takes place in human mothers).

The researchers in France say that although their study strongly suggests that BPA is linked to human thyroid problems, they still need to understand how many people may be affected.

Carl Lowe

Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.