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Common stain repellent linked to thyroid disease

Long-term health study shows connection with blood levels of perfluorooctanoic acid

7:01pm, January 22, 2010

Stain-repelling chemicals help keep carpets, upholstery and clothing clean — but the compounds may be messing up the body. Higher blood levels of the synthetic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, are linked to thyroid diseases, scientists report online in Environmental Health Perspectives. It is the first report of such a connection between the widely used chemical and thyroid diseases in people and should prompt further studies, scientists say.

“We’re looking at a moment in time,” says study coauthor Tamara Galloway of the University of Exeter in England. The researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. It provides a snapshot of the health of a representative sample of the U.S. population, but it can’t speak to cause and effect, she cautions. “Thes

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