Endocrine disruptors and thyroid autoimmunity

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jan;34(1):101377. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2020.101377. Epub 2020 Feb 11.


Many papers evaluated the effect of the environmental, or occupational endocrine disruptors (ED), on the thyroid gland, that can lead to thyroid autoimmunity. A higher prevalence of autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) was observed in people living in polluted areas near to petrochemical plants, and in petrochemical workers, but also in area contaminated with organochlorine pesticides, or with polychlorinated biphenyls, or near aluminum foundries. The exposure to Hg in chloralkali workers, or in swordfish consumers has been also found to increase AITD prevalence. Vanadium has been shown to increase the inflammatory response of thyrocytes. A beneficial effect of omega-3 fatty acids, and of myo-inositol and selenomethionine have been shown to counteract the appearance of AITD in subjects exposed to environmental or occupational ED. More large studies are needed to investigate the potential roles of ED in the induction of AITD, and of agents or habits that are able to prevent them.

Keywords: Graves' disease; autoimmune thyroid diseases; autoimmune thyroiditis; endocrine disruptors; myo-inositol; selenium/selenomethionine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmunity / drug effects*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / pharmacology*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Inositol / therapeutic use
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Selenomethionine / therapeutic use
  • Thyroid Gland / drug effects*
  • Thyroid Gland / immunology*
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / epidemiology
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / etiology*
  • Thyroiditis, Autoimmune / prevention & control
  • Vanadium / pharmacology


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Vanadium
  • Inositol
  • Selenomethionine