Expert Advice

Endocrine Disruptors and Thyroid Function

Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC., is partnering with Heather Procknal, NBC-HWC-CHC, to bring greater awareness to the importance of thyroid care and education. This post was sponsored by Acella Pharmaceuticals and should not be construed as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor about your individual medical situation

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a medical professional or health care provider before beginning any exercise, fitness, diet or nutrition routine.

You may have heard the term “endocrine disruptors” floating around the health community, but what does it mean? Yes, we know endocrine disruptors are harmful, but what impact do they have on health and thyroid function?

What are endocrine disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals found in everyday products and the environment. They can interfere with the production, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body.

It's difficult to avoid exposure to endocrine disruptors since these harmful chemicals are found everywhere. As a hypothyroid patient it’s important to recognize the common sources of endocrine disruptors that can negatively impact thyroid function and overall health.

9 Common Sources of Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors are found in a wide variety of everyday products and often in unexpected places. Here are some common endocrine disruptors that you may encounter in food, environment, and personal care items – some of which could be making your thyroid symptoms worse.

1. BPA is commonly found in plastics and mimics the sex hormone estrogen.It has been linked to obesity, reproductive problems, heart disease, and specific types of cancer.

Tip: Avoid it by choosing fresh foods over foods that are canned or stored in plastics. Look for reusable water bottles that are BPA free.

2. Balance diet. Atrazine is a chemical herbicide used on many crops, especially corn, and is known to contaminate drinking water. Atrazine has been shown to cause male frogs to become female, which demonstrates the impact it can have on the endocrine system. More research needs to be done regarding the health implications of atrazine for humans. Nevertheless, it is still a chemical that is being investigated in correlation to human disease and should be monitored.

Tip: Avoid Atrazine by eating organic produce and drinking filtered water.

3. Phthalates are found in plastic food containers, children's toys, plastic wrap and personal care items such as shampoo, soap, lotion, and fragrances. Phthalates cause premature cell death and have been linked to hormone disruption, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, and thyroid irregularities.

Tip: You can reduce exposure to this toxic chemical by reading personal care item labels and avoiding using plastic food containers when possible.

4. Perchloroethylene, aka PCE or PERC can be found in degreasers, spot cleaners, and dry-cleaning solutions. PERC has been identified as a toxic substance that can cause a range of negative health effects, including cancer and neurological damage.1 As a result, many states have implemented strict regulations to reduce exposure to this harmful substance. Because it’s such a powerful solvent, it easily permeates concrete and ground soil and contributes to contaminated water sources, crops, and produce.

If you get your clothes dry cleaned, be sure to ask if they use PERC as it can get into your body through inhalation and contact with the skin; such exposure can lead to disrupted hormone function.1 Perchlorate also competes with the nutrient iodine, which is needed to make thyroid hormones.

Tip: You can help offset these effects by making sure you get enough iodine in your diet, by using safer "greener" options when choosing how you dry clean your clothes, and by using a reverse osmosis water filter.

5. Lead is a toxic heavy metal that is found in old paint and some drinking water. When lead enters the body, it can cause major damage to the HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenocortical) by disrupting proper hormone signaling. Lead exposure is associated with brain damage, increased blood pressure, kidney and thyroid dysfunction, and nervous system problems. A study that included 2,399 men and 1,988 women that was conducted from 2007 to 2012 showed lead had a negative contribution to the hormone T4.2 Although lead-containing home products such as paint are a thing of the past, lead is still found in some sources of drinking water.

Tip: By eating a healthy diet and drinking filtered water, you can help your body to better combat the negative effects of lead

6. Arsenic is a poison found in some foods and drinking water. Even in tiny amounts, it has been shown to interfere with normal hormone functioning and the processing of sugars and carbohydrates. In other words, it can really upset our metabolism and brain function. This can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, and immunosuppression. The same study mentioned above also reports arsenic to have negative contributions to thyroid hormones T3 and T4 in study participants.2

Tip: You can protect yourself by using a good water filter to reduce your exposure to arsenic and other heavy metals.

7. Mercury is a toxic metal found in the air and water. Due to the contamination of ocean and river waters, seafood such as wild-caught tuna and salmon often contain harmful levels of mercury. This is dangerous as it adversely affects brain and hormone function and can damage the pancreas, which is responsible for metabolizing sugars and carbohydrates. A meta-analysis of 18 different studies indicates that exposure to Hg (Mercury) in blood could significantly correlate with the levels of TSH, T4, and FT4 in the general population.3

Tip: You don’t have to give up your favorite seafood, but be sure to look for “sustainably sourced” options to reduce your mercury risks.

8. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCS) are often found in non-stick cookware and water-resistant coatings on furniture, clothing, and carpets. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to thyroid disease, kidney disease, high cholesterol, and other health issues. PFCS do not break down in the environment, which means exposure to these harmful chemicals is widespread.

Tip: Avoid using non-stick pots and pans in your kitchen. Instead, look for non-toxic cookware. There are so many great options now that cleaner home products are gaining popularity.

9. Organophosphate pesticide s target the nervous system of insects to reduce damage to crops. This common-use pesticide has been linked to thyroid hormone disruption, fertility issues, and brain development complications. A study of 136 male agricultural workers exposed to organophosphate pesticides suggests these chemicals may be responsible for increasing TSH and T4 serum hormone levels and decreasing T3 serum hormone levels.4

Tip: The best way to avoid toxic pesticides is to buy organic when possible and to thoroughly wash your produce before eating it.

While it may not be possible to completely avoid exposure to harmful toxins and endocrine disruptors, there are steps you can take that are quick and easy. A great first step is to get a filtered water pitcher for your home or, better yet, install a reverse osmosis system in your kitchen. When possible, buy organic and wash your produce before eating it.

If the thought of scouring the internet for safer home goods, personal care items, and cleaning supplies makes you feel overwhelmed, don't stress. Check out this blog post, “Is Your Environment Harming Your Health?” for more tips to reduce the toxins in your home. It even has three DIY recipes to make your own toxin-free cleaners! You could also search the Environmental Working Group,, for more resources and recommendations you can trust.

REFERENCES: 1. Environmental Working Group. 2001. Rocket Science: Perchlorate and the toxic legal of the cold war. Retrieved from on June 25, 2023. 2. Kim K, Argos M, Persky VW, Freels S, Sargis RM, Turyk ME. Associations of exposure to metal and metal mixtures with thyroid hormones: Results from the NHANES 2007-2012. Environ Res. 2022 Sep;212(Pt C):113413. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113413. Epub 2022 May 7. PMID: 35537494. https:// 3. Hu Q, Han X, Dong G, Yan W, Wang X, Bigambo FM, Fang K, Xia Y, Chen T, Wang X. Association between mercury exposure and thyroid hormones levels: A meta-analysis. Environ Res. 2021 May;196:110928. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.110928. Epub 2021 Feb 26. PMID: 33640496. 4. Lacasaña M, López-Flores I, Rodríguez-Barranco M, Aguilar-Garduño C, Blanco-Muñoz J, Pérez-Méndez O, Gamboa R, Bassol S, Cebrian ME. Association between organophosphate pesticides exposure and thyroid hormones in floriculture workers. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2010 Feb 15;243(1):19-26. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2009.11.008. Epub 2009 Nov 13. PMID: 19914268.


Note that DTE products, including NP Thyroid®, have not been reviewed by the FDA for safety or efficacy.

Important Risk Information

Drugs with thyroid hormone activity, alone or together with other therapeutic agents, have been used for the treatment of obesity. In euthyroid patients, doses within the range of daily hormonal requirements are ineffective for weight reduction. Larger doses may produce serious or even life-threatening manifestations of toxicity, particularly when given in association with sympathomimetic amines such as those used for their anorectic effects.
  • NP Thyroid® is contraindicated in patients with uncorrected adrenal insufficiency, untreated thyrotoxicosis, and hypersensitivity to any component of the product.
  • In the elderly and in patients with cardiovascular disease, NP Thyroid® should be used with greater caution than younger patients or those without cardiovascular disease.
  • Use of NP Thyroid® in patients with diabetes mellitus or adrenal cortical insufficiency may worsen the intensity of their symptoms.
  • The therapy of myxedema coma requires simultaneous administration of glucocorticoids.
  • Concomitant use of NP Thyroid® with oral anticoagulants alters the sensitivity of oral anticoagulants. Prothrombin time should be closely monitored in thyroid-treated patients on oral anticoagulants.
  • In infants, excessive doses of NP Thyroid® may produce craniosynostosis.
  • Partial loss of hair may be experienced by children in the first few months of therapy but is usually transient.
  • Adverse reactions associated with NP Thyroid® therapy are primarily those of hyperthyroidism due to therapeutic overdosage.
  • Many drugs and some laboratory tests may alter the therapeutic response to NP Thyroid®. In addition, thyroid hormones and thyroid status have varied effects on the pharmacokinetics and actions of other drugs. Administer at least 4 hours before or after drugs that are known to interfere with absorption. Evaluate the need for dose adjustments when regularly administering within one hour of certain foods that may affect absorption.
  • NP Thyroid® should not be discontinued during pregnancy, and hypothyroidism diagnosed during pregnancy should be promptly treated.


NP Thyroid® (thyroid tablets, USP) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat a condition called hypothyroidism from any cause, except for cases of temporary hypothyroidism, which is usually associated with an inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis). It is meant to replace or supplement a hormone that is usually made by your thyroid gland.

NP Thyroid® is also used in the treatment and prevention of normal functioning thyroid goiters, such as thyroid nodules, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, multinodular goiter, and in the management of thyroid cancer.
Revised 10/2023