Correlates of Positive Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies Among Firefighters: A Cross-Sectional-Study


Context: Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are associated with underactive thyroid glands, and possibly autoimmunity. Firefighters are exposed to EDCs from flame retardants; however, the prevalence and risk factor associations of thyroid antibodies among firefighters are unknown. Context: We aimed to determine the prevalence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) and associated sociodemographic and occupational risk factors among firefighters. Methods: Firefighters attending professional health and safety conferences between November 2018 and January 2020, and with no prior diagnosis of thyroid disease were invited (n = 278) to submit a health survey, blood samples, and complete a thyroid ultrasound. The survey assessed for sociodemographic and occupational characteristics, including a history of familial thyroid disease, smoking, firefighter tenure, and job rank, radiation exposure, and mitigation practices of occupational exposures. Serum thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) was also assessed. Results: Approximately 39.9% of firefighters evaluated had a positive TPOAb test. The mean age for those TPOAb positive was lower than those who tested negative (41.4 ± 7.9 vs 43.1 ± 7.9 years, P = 0.07) but this difference was not significant. Firefighters with a family history of thyroid disease had a statistically significant higher prevalence of TPOAb compared with those without a family history (60.0% vs 37.5%, P = 0.02); this association remained significant after adjusting for sociodemographic and occupational factors (odds ratio 2.99; CI, 1.31-6.85). Conclusion: The prevalence of TPOAb is high among firefighters in our study, and family history is a significant determinant of testing positive for TPOAb. Firefighters may benefit from TPOAb and thyroid stimulating hormone tests, and screening for family history of thyroid disease at baseline employee medical check-ups. This finding suggests the need for further studies.

Authors: Kemi Ogunsina, Tulay Koru-Sengul, Valentina Rodriguez, Alberto J Caban-Martinez, Natasha Schaefer-Solle, Soyeon Ahn, Erin N Kobetz-Kerman, David J Lee
; Full Source: Journal of the Endocrine Society 2022 Aug 23;6(10):bvac125. doi: 10.1210/jendso/bvac125.