Exposure to certain types of pesticides could up the risk of thyroid disease in women, according to a new study of thousands of women married to licensed pesticide applicators.
Problems with the thyroid gland are more common among women than men, Dr. Whitney S. Goldner of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and colleagues note in their report. The thyroid is located at the base of the throat and plays an important role in regulating the body's energy use.
There is growing evidence for a link between exposure to pesticides and thyroid problems, the authors note. They studied more than 16,500 women living in Iowa and North Carolina who were married to men seeking certification to use restricted pesticides in those states during the 1990s.
Overall, 12.5 percent of the women reported having thyroid disease; 7 percent had underactive thyroid glands (hypothyroidism) and 2 percent had overactive thyroids (hyperthyroidism).