Can living in the surroundings of a petrochemical complex be a risk factor for autoimmune thyroid disease?

Epidemiological Surveillance Center-CVE/SES/SP, Arnaldo, 351, 6(o) Andar, São Paulo/SP-CEP:01246-000, Brasil.
Environmental Research (Impact Factor: 3.24). 11/2009; 110(1):112-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2009.10.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Based on a suspicion raised by a health professional and due to a subsequent legal request, a cross-sectional study was made with a comparison group to investigate a possible excess of Hashimoto's thyroiditis-HT and antibodies-ATA in the surroundings of a Petrochemical Complex.
People of both sexes aged over 20 years were investigated in a random sample of residents in the area surrounding the Petrochemical Complex. Controls were investigated in an area with steel industries. In the areas searched, participants were chosen randomly and stratified a priori by sex and age group. As a result, 90.5% of the expected sample was obtained, totaling 1533 individuals. HT and ATA prevalences were compared by the chi-square test. Logistic regression was used to control the possible confounding factors for HT and ATA.
Both TH (9.3%) and ATA (17.6%) prevalences were higher in the Petrochemical Complex area than in the control area (3.9% and 10.3%, respectively). After controlling the possible confounding factors, the POR for living in the surroundings of the Complex and presenting HT was 2.39 (CI95%: 1.42-4.03). According to the ATA criterion, the POR for living in the surroundings of the Complex was 1.78 (CI95%: 1.23-2.60).
The authors have found higher prevalence and risk of developing thyroiditis and anti-thyroid antibodies among residents of areas surrounding the Petrochemical Complex and think these findings need to be further studied in similar areas.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: To investigate whether there is an increased incidence of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT) in individuals living in the vicinity of industrial plants that manufacture petroleum byproducts in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Between 1989 and 2004, 6,306 patients of both sexes, from 5 to 78 years old were divided in two groups according to their home location: Group 1: 3,356 residents living near industrial plants that manufacture petroleum byproducts (Region A), and Group 2: 2,950 residents living far from Region A in an area with predominantly steel industries (Region B). For all patients, we measured the serum levels of antithyroglobulin antibody, antithyroperoxidase antibody, triiodothyronine, thyroxine, free thyroxine and thyrostimulating hormone. Sonographic scans of the thyroid gland were also conducted. The proportion of patients with CAT coming from Region A increased from 2.5 % (5 patients with CAT/200 total patients) in 1992 to 57.6 % (106 patients with CAT/184 total patients) in 2001. This striking increase was highly significant (p < 0.001). Similar findings were not observed in Region B. The difference in the number of patients with CAT between 1989 and 2004 coming from Region A and Region B was highly significant (p < 0.001), with 905 CAT patients (83.95 %) in Region A and 173 CAT patients (16.05 %) in Region B. Our results showed a striking increase in the incidence of CAT in residents in the vicinity of large industrial plants that manufacture petroleum byproducts compared with residents living near steel industries, which opens the field to new areas of research.
    Journal of Clinical Immunology 05/2012; 32(5):1012-8. · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hakaru Hashimoto described 4 patients with a hitherto unknown cause for goitre, struma lymphomatosa, a century ago. He was careful to distinguish this from Riedel thyroiditis but it has become clear that fibrosis and atrophy of the thyroid are indeed components of Hashimoto thyroiditis, and in rare cases IgG4-related sclerosing disease may be an outcome. Although the cause of the lymphocytic infiltration was unknown to Hashimoto, we now know through the pioneering studies of N.R. Rose and E. Witebsky [J Immunol 1956;76:417-427] that this condition is the archetype for autoimmune destruction as a disease mechanism. In the last two decades in particular, there has been huge interest in unravelling the genetic basis for this and related autoimmune disorders. The list of polymorphisms associated with autoimmune thyroid disease grows each year, and in the case of vitiligo, which is frequently found in association with thyroid autoimmunity, we know that 27 separate susceptibility loci account for less than 20% of the heritability of this condition. Environmental and existential factors may turn out to be just as complex in number and in interactions. We can thus imagine a 'Swiss cheese' model for the causation of autoimmune thyroid disease, in which the effects of cumulative weaknesses line up - like the holes in slices of cheese - to allow the catastrophic event of autoimmune destruction to occur.
    European thyroid journal. 01/2013; 1(4):243-250.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Petrochemical industries have been identified as important sources of emissions of chemical substances, and adverse health outcomes have been reported for residents who live nearby. The purpose of the current study was to examine the adverse effects of petrochemical industrialization in Taiwan on the life expectancy and personal income of people living in nearby communities. This study compared life expectancies and personal income between one industrial county (Yunlin County) and one reference county (Yilan County), which had no significant industrial activity that might emit pollutants, in Taiwan through analysis of 11 year long and publicly available data. Data from before and after the petrochemical company in the industrial county started (year 1999) operating were compared. Residents of the industrialized county had lesser increases in life expectancy over time than did residents of a similar but less-industrialized county, with difference means ranging from 0.89 years (p < 0.05) to 1.62 years (p < 0.001) at different stages. Male residents were more vulnerable to the effects of industrialization. There were no significant differences in individual income between the two counties. Countries, including Taiwan and the U.S., embracing petrochemical industries now face the challenge of environmental injustice. Our findings suggested that life expectancy lengthening was slowed and income growth was stalled for residents living in the industrial communities.
    BMC Public Health 03/2014; 14(1):247. · 2.08 Impact Factor


Available from