A recent study found cases of thyroid cancer have tripled over the last 30 years. Researchers studying it believe the culprit may be lurking in places that might be the last places you’d suspect it.
Julie Ann Sosa, Professor of Surgery & Medicine, and Chief of Endocrine Surgery at Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center, said “There’s a virtual epidemic of thyroid cancer that is being seen in the United States”. The Duke University researchers wanted to know what might be behind the spike so they conducted a study to look at possible causes. Dr. Sosa said “The one that sort of fascinated us was potential exposures in the environment.”
They believe the culprit may be lurking inside our homes…. in the form of flame retardant chemicals. Dr. Sosa said those chemicals “are located in many different things in the home — in your sofa, in drapes, curtains” and more. Dr. Sosa and her team of researchers wondered if those chemicals might act as endocrine disrupters; possibly altering the way the thyroid works.
But first they had to measure these exposures. Researchers used a special vacuum in patients’ homes, collecting dust to be tested in the lab. The results confirmed their suspicions. Dr. Sosa said “the levels were significantly higher in the patients with papillary thyroid cancer.”
The study also found the higher the level of exposure the patient had to flame retardants, the more aggressive the cancer. Dr. Sosa said the hope is that research like this will someday spark industry-wide change, and companies will be compelled to use less harmful chemicals.
We should add that even many items of clothing are treated with flame retardants, including sleepwear for adults, children and infants. Less toxic forms of flame retardants have been developed so you might look for items indicating they are treated with non-toxic flame retardants… clothing, drapes, etc.