Chronic Autoimmune Thyroiditis in Industrial Areas in Brazil: A 15-Year Survey
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- Zaccarelli-Marino, M.A. J Clin Immunol (2012) 32: 1012. doi:10.1007/s10875-012-9703-2
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To investigate whether there is an increased incidence of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis (CAT) in individuals living in the vicinity of industrial plants that manufacture petroleum byproducts in the state of São Paulo, Brazil.
Between 1989 and 2004, 6,306 patients of both sexes, from 5 to 78 years old were divided in two groups according to their home location: Group 1: 3,356 residents living near industrial plants that manufacture petroleum byproducts (Region A), and Group 2: 2,950 residents living far from Region A in an area with predominantly steel industries (Region B). For all patients, we measured the serum levels of antithyroglobulin antibody, antithyroperoxidase antibody, triiodothyronine, thyroxine, free thyroxine and thyrostimulating hormone. Sonographic scans of the thyroid gland were also conducted.
The proportion of patients with CAT coming from Region A increased from 2.5 % (5 patients with CAT/200 total patients) in 1992 to 57.6 % (106 patients with CAT/184 total patients) in 2001. This striking increase was highly significant (p < 0.001). Similar findings were not observed in Region B. The difference in the number of patients with CAT between 1989 and 2004 coming from Region A and Region B was highly significant (p < 0.001), with 905 CAT patients (83.95 %) in Region A and 173 CAT patients (16.05 %) in Region B.
Our results showed a striking increase in the incidence of CAT in residents in the vicinity of large industrial plants that manufacture petroleum byproducts compared with residents living near steel industries, which opens the field to new areas of research.