RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The nonstick industry seems to be putting us all in a sticky situation, according to results from a string of studies. Recent research has found links between perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and female infertility, low sperm count, and even high cholesterol. Now, a new study that will appear in this month's Environmental Health Perspectives journal has associated exposure to PFOA—a chemical commonly used in nonstick, stain-repellent, or waterproof consumer products—with thyroid disease. "These results highlight a real need for further research into the human health effects of low-level exposures to environmental chemicals like PFOA that are ubiquitous in the environment and in people's homes," says lead study author Tamara Galloway, PhD, professor of ecotoxicology at the University of Exeter School of Biosciences. "We need to know what they are doing.”
THE DETAILS: British researchers used nearly 4,000 samples taken through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which tests blood and urine levels for various chemical contaminants. Running the numbers, they discovered that people with higher concentrations of PFOA in their blood were more likely to report a history of thyroid disease. (To determine thyroid disease, participants recalled whether they were diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, and were asked if they still took medication for a thyroid problem.) In the latest study, individuals with the highest 25 percent of PFOA concentrations in the blood were more than twice as likely to report being on medication for current thyroid disease as the people with the lowest 50 percent of PFOA concentrations.
Read on to find out how to kick nonstick cookware and Teflon dangers out of your house.