An article in Environmental Health Perspective (June 2000;108(Suppl 3):433-438) reviewed the importance of the thyroid for brain function and the effect environmental chemicals have on both the thyroid and the nervous system. Proper thyroid function is especially important for brain development in the fetus and during the first two months after birth.
Animal studies have shown that exposure to PCBs and dioxins create abnormal neurologic function and impaired thyroid function. Chemical exposure can enlarge the thyroid, and decrease T4 levels. Many environmental toxins mimic thyroid hormones and bind to proteins used to transport thyroid hormone, competing with thyroid hormone and altering function.