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Startling thyroid link found

throid examAre you putting yourself at risk for thyroid problems? You could be if you’re exposed to perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, says one recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. These chemicals are found in such items as fabrics, carpeting—even cosmetics.

The study, which looked at data from 1,181 people in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found that men and women who had higher levels of PFCs (specifically, perfluorooctanoate, or PFOA, and perfluorohexane sulfonate, or PFHxS) in the bloodstream may experience changes to their thyroid function; in women, the chemicals could also increase the risk for mild hypothyroidism, which can trigger symptoms such as fatigue, depression, weight gain and menstrual problems. While manufacturers no longer use some of these chemicals, there is concern over their long-term health effects because they do linger in the body. However, more research is needed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship.