How microplastics affect Hashimoto’s

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that are under five millimeters in size. They’re omnipresent in the environment and have many effects on your health (1–6).

Microplastics have been found in the ocean, drinking water, fresh water, food, and air (7–15). Certain plastics contain components that are harmful to your health, most notably BPA (Bisphenol A) and phthalates (16–18). They’re considered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) — meaning they interfere with how your endocrine system operates (19–21).

Microplastics can enter your body through your:

  1. Digestive system
  2. Lungs
  3. Skin

Once microplastics are in your body, they enter your bloodstream and trigger inflammation (8, 22, 23). Problems that can occur include difficulty breathing, autoimmune reactions, changes in hormone production, and alterations in certain proteins (19).

BPA and phthalates can disrupt thyroid function (24–26):

  • Reducing T4 and T3 hormone levels
  • Increasing TSH levels
  • Reducing the uptake of iodine from the thyroid

As microplastics can trigger autoimmune reactions, they might be responsible for triggering Hashimoto’s flare-ups (19, 27).

Protect your thyroid health, as well as the health of others and the environment with five things you can do to reduce the spread of microplastics:

  1. Stop using single-use plastics (or cut down your use — this includes plastic cutlery, straws, plates, cups, and bottles)
  2. Use a reusable bag while shopping
  3. Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages (even when ordering to-go from cafes)
  4. Check your beauty routine (avoid scrubs and soaps that contain microbeads)
  5. Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of disposables

How we write: our information is based on the results of peer reviewed studies using the National Library of Medicine platform. It is written by scientists and reviewed by external experts. If you believe we might have overseen crucial scientific information, please contact us at

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose any disease or condition. If you want to change your treatment, lifestyle, your diet, include supplements in your diet or have concerns about your health, please consult your doctor before trying new approaches.


  1. Revel M, et al. Micro(nano)plastics: A threat to human health, 2018
  2. WHO. Microplastics in Drinking-Water, 2019
  3. Sharma S, et al. Microplastic pollution, a threat to marine ecosystem and human health: A short review, 2017
  4. Rist S, et al. A critical perspective on early communications concerning human health aspects of microplastics, 2018
  5. Bradney L, et al. Particulate plastics as a vector for toxic trace-element uptake by aquatic and terrestrial organisms and human health risk, 2019
  6. Lehner R, et al. Emergence of Nanoplastic in the Environment and Possible Impact on Human Health, 2019
  7. Waring RH, et al. Plastic contamination of the food chain: A threat to human health, 2018
  8. Wright SL, et al. Plastic and Human Health: A Micro Issue, 2017
  9. Silva-Cavalcanti JS, et al. Microplastics ingestion by a common tropical freshwater fishing resource, 2017
  10. Toussaint B, et al. Review of micro- and nanoplastic contamination in the food chain, 2019
  11. Cox KD, et al. Human Consumption of Microplastics, 2019
  12. Enyoh CE, et al. Uptake of Microplastics by Plant: A Reason to Worry or to be Happy, 2019
  13. Campanale C, et al. Microplastics and their possible sources: The example of Ofanto river in Southeast Italy, 2019
  14. Rillig MC, et al. Microplastic Incorporation into Soil in Agroecosystems, 2017
  15. Prata JC. Airborne microplastics: Consequences to human health, 2018
  16. The European Parliament. Regulation E.C. No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending regulation (EC) No 1907/2006, 2008
  17. HESIS Occupational Health Branch California Department of Public Health. Understanding Toxic Substances. An Introduction to Chemical Hazards in the Workplace, 2010
  18. Cingotti N, et al. Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) Food Contact Materials and Chemical Contamination, 2019
  19. Campanale C, et al. A Detailed Review Study on Potential Effects of Microplastics and Additives of Concern on Human Health, 2020
  20. Sanchez-Avila J, et al. Determination and occurrence of phthalates, alkylphenols, bisphenol A, PBDEs, PCBs and PAHs in an industrial sewage grid discharging to a Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant, 2009
  21. Bergé A, et al. Meta-analysis of environmental contamination by phthalates, 2013
  22. Lehner R, et al. Emergence of Nanoplastic in the Environment and Possible Impact on Human Health, 2019
  23. Prata JC. Airborne microplastics: Consequences to human health, 2018
  24. Meeker JD, et al. Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate metabolites may alter thyroid hormone levels in men, 2007
  25. Boas M, et al. Childhood exposure to phthalates: Associations with thyroid function, insulin-like growth factor I, and growth, 2010
  26. Meeker JD, et al. Relationship between Urinary Phthalate and Bisphenol A Concentrations and Serum Thyroid Measures in US Adults and Adolescents from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2008, 2011
  27. Diamanti-Kandarakis E, et al. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals: An endocrine society scientific statement, 2009

Photo: Unsplash; Design: VLM Health




Companion app for people diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and Hashimoto’s.

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Dr. Vedrana Högqvist Tabor

Dr. Vedrana Högqvist Tabor

CEO @Boost_HealthApp|| TEDx speaker || Cancer hunter || Hashimoto’s patient|| Parentpreneur || Learning from own mistakes since 1977

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