Pesticides, Thyroid and the Nervous System


Research performed at the University of North Dakota at the Energy and Environmental Research Center, in conjunction with the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and several state and federal agencies, indicates found that pesticide exposure caused changes in the nervous systems of experimental rats. Researchers are currently working to identify the dangers of pesticide exposure, and to find ways to reduce health risks posed by pesticides. Experiments on rats show that exposure to pesticides affect areas of the brain that are involved with Parkinson's disease, MS, epilepsy, and Alzheimer's disease. Pesticide exposure can damage the gastrointestinal system as well as the nervous system. An article in Environmental Health Perspective (June 2000;108(Suppl 3):433-438) reviewed the effect environmental chemicals have on both the thyroid and the nervous system. Proper thyroid function is especially important for brain development in the fetus and during the first two months after birth.

Animal studies have shown that exposure to PCBs and dioxins create abnormal neurologic function and impaired thyroid function. Chemical exposure can enlarge the thyroid, and decrease T4 levels. Many environmental toxins mimic thyroid hormones and bind to proteins used to transport thyroid hormone, competing with thyroid hormone and subsequently altering function.

Become familiar with the "Dirty Dozen"


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