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According to a study by Zeng et al, published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Workers exposed to chemicals like deodorizers, sanitizers, disinfectants and sterilizers on the job may be more likely than other people to develop thyroid cancer, a recent study suggests.
Occupational exposure to these chemicals, known as biocides, was associated with a 65 percent higher risk of thyroid cancer, the study found. For people whose jobs might have led to the most cumulative exposure to biocides over time, the odds of thyroid cancer was more than doubled.
Biocides in the study were typically used in medicine or cleaning. Jobs most often tied to these chemicals included healthcare providers involved in diagnosing or treating patients; psychiatric and home health aides; and building cleaning workers.
Women with any occupational exposure to biocides were 48 percent more likely to develop thyroid cancer, while men had more than tripled odds, the study found.
Although the underlying mechanisms linking biocides to thyroid cancer are unclear, it’s possible that these chemicals alter thyroid hormones, researchers note. Triclosan, for example, a chemical widely used in cleaning products, has been shown to decrease levels of two thyroid hormones involved in growth and metabolism.
Read a news report about the study here.