Thyroid disease is common, and evidence of an association between organochlorine exposure and thyroid disease is increasing. The authors examined the cross-sectional association between ever use of organochlorines and risk of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism among female spouses (n = 16,529) in Iowa and North Carolina enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study in 1993-1997. They also assessed risk of thyroid disease in relation to ever use of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and fumigants. Prevalence of self-reported clinically diagnosed thyroid disease was 12.5%, and prevalence of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism was 6.9% and 2.1%, respectively. There was an increased odds of hypothyroidism with ever use of organochlorine insecticides (adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) = 1.2 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0, 1.6) and fungicides (ORadj = 1.4 (95% CI: 1.1, 1.8) but no association with ever use of herbicides, fumigants, organophosphates, pyrethroids, or carbamates. Specifically, ever use of the organochlorine chlordane (ORadj = 1.3 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.7), the fungicides benomyl (ORadj = 3.1 (95% CI: 1.9, 5.1) and maneb/mancozeb (ORadj = 2.2 (95% CI: 1.5, 3.3), and the herbicide paraquat (ORadj = 1.8 (95% CI: 1.1, 2.8) was significantly associated with hypothyroidism. Maneb/mancozeb was the only pesticide associated with both hyperthyroidism (ORadj = 2.3 (95% CI: 1.2, 4.4) and hypothyroidism. These data support a role of organochlorines, in addition to fungicides, in the etiology of thyroid disease among female spouses enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-464
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Agriculture
  • Environmental exposure
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pesticides
  • Thyroid gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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