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Environ Res. 2019 Nov 15:108922. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108922. [Epub ahead of print]

Association between mixture of persistent organic pollutants and thyroid pathologies in a Belgian population.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Clinical, Forensic and Environmental Toxicology, University of Liege (ULg), CHU (B35), 4000, Liege, Belgium; Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Medicines (C.I.R.M.), University of Liege (ULg), CHU (B35), 4000, Liege, Belgium. Electronic address: pdufour@uliege.be.
2
Laboratory of Clinical, Forensic and Environmental Toxicology, University of Liege (ULg), CHU (B35), 4000, Liege, Belgium; Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Medicines (C.I.R.M.), University of Liege (ULg), CHU (B35), 4000, Liege, Belgium.
3
Department of Endocrinology, University of Liege (ULg), CHU (BE 035), 4000, Liege, Belgium.

Abstract

Previous years, the incidence of autoimmune thyroid diseases has increased worldwide. The presence of many pollutants in the environment suspected to be thyroid disruptors may have contributed to the observed increase. Unfortunately, the results from epidemiological studies assessing the association between pollution and thyroid disorders remain inconsistent, maybe due to a nearly complete neglect of the mixture effect. The blood levels of 12 brominated flame retardants, 3 polychlorinated biphenyls, 16 organochlorine pesticides, 7 perfluoroalkyl substances and 16 phenolic organohalogens were measured in 35 hypothyroid and 44 hyperthyroid volunteers and in 160 individuals from the general population designed as controls. Weighted quantile sum (WQS) regressions were performed to compute indexes representing the mixture of POPs, and we assessed the relations with thyroid disorders. Nineteen pollutants were detected in more than 40% of the individuals and were thus included in the WQS indexes. The WQS index was statistically significantly associated with an increased odds of hypothyroidism (odds ratio (OR) = 98.1; 95% CI: 5.51-1747) with the highest weights attributed to PCB 138 (w = 0.210), 3-OH-CB 180 (w = 0.197), 4-OH-CB 146 (w = 0.188), 4',4-DDE (w = 0.156) while there were no evidence of a relation with increased odds of hyperthyroidism. Given the relative low number of individuals included in the present investigation, standard WQS methodology could not be used, this study should thus be considered as a preliminary, hypothesis-generating study. Nevertheless, these results highlighted the importance of considering the potential effect of chemical mixture when studying endocrine disruptors.

KEYWORDS:

Endocrine disruptors; Hyperthyroidism; Hypothyroidism; Mixture effect; Persistent organic pollutants

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