One objective of the Trump administration’s agenda is making substantial cuts to the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to The New York Times, the White House is proposing an estimated budget cut of 31 percent and elimination of a quarter of the EPA’s 15,000 employees.
You may assume that the cuts will primarily impact climate change research. If enacted, however, the cuts could also have a significant impact on other research and initiatives that directly affect your thyroid health. Specifically, the budget seeks to cut research and programs to monitor thyroid-damaging radiation, as well as efforts to minimize exposure to toxic chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors, negatively affecting thyroid and hormonal function.
The Trump administration’s proposed EPA budget cuts would eliminate funding for the agency’s Radiation Protection Program. This program monitors rain, tap water, and food supplies for potentially thyroid-damaging radiation. This radiation typically is released during nuclear accidents, such as the one at Japan’s Fukushima reactor in 2011. After Fukushima, radioactive plumes reached the Pacific coast of the Unite States, as well as Alaska and Hawaii, and were found in water, milk, and rain. Exposure to too much radioactive fallout can increase the risk of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer, especially in children and unborn babies.
Currently, there is $6 million budgeted for EPA research and screening of endocrine disruptors. According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, endocrine disruptors are chemicals—found in everything from beauty products, plastics, fire-retardant fabrics, non-stick cookware, and food can linings—that are linked to increased risks of thyroid disorders, reproductive conditions, and hormone-related cancers such as ovarian, breast, and prostate cancers, among other diseases.
The proposed budget cuts would eliminate the entire program, and limit the EPA’s ability to respond to growing evidence of the hormonal dangers of these toxins.
According to an Endocrine Society statement published in the journal Endocrine Reviews in 2015, “Emerging evidence ties endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure to two of the biggest public health threats facing society — diabetes and obesity.”
The Endocrine Society has also reported on the ability of endocrine disruptors to negatively affect thyroid health.
The two key endocrine disruptors that are known to impact metabolism, hormones, and thyroid health are bisphenol A (BPA) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
BPA is primarily found in the linings of many canned foods, some canned sodas and beers, some reusable water bottles, and cash register receipts. PCBs were used for coatings, inks, adhesives, paints, coatings, and other industrial uses. Despite being banned for several decades, PCBs are highly resistant to breakdown and remain common pollutants in landfills, and in air and water supplies. Both these toxic chemicals are so common that it is nearly impossible to avoid exposure.
What can you do?
Reach out to your legislators to encourage the continuation of the EPA’s Radiation Protection Program as well as the agency’s research and monitoring of endocrine disruptors.
Learn more about how to avoid toxic chemicals in your food, water, and household, by reading the series of helpful Consumer Guides published by the Environmental Working Group. For example, children’s plastic toys, bottles, and pacifiers — and any plastic products used for food or drinks — should be clearly labeled “BPA-free.”
Read a new book, The Toxin Solution, by Bastyr University founder and bestselling author of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Dr. Pizzorno, a renowned researcher, lays out a strong scientific case for links between toxic exposures and a long list of increasingly common diseases and conditions, including thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. He also outlines nutritional, supplement, and lifestyle protocols that can help to reduce these exposures and eliminate toxic overloads from the body.
See More Helpful Articles:
Mary Shomon is a thyroid disease, hormonal and autoimmune health writer, and patient advocate. For two decades, Mary has been a leading force advocating for more effective, patient-centered thyroid and hormonal health care. Mary is the New York Times bestselling author of “The Thyroid Diet Revolution,” “Your Healthy Pregnancy with Thyroid Disease,” “Living Well With Hypothyroidism,” and 10 other books on thyroid disease and integrative health. She co-stars in two PBS health specials, “Healthy Hormones,” and “Vibrant for Life.” Follow her on Twitter at @thyroidmary or at her Facebook communities: ThyroidSupport and ThyroidDiet.