The Oak Ridge region's high thyroid problems stem from the chemical impacts on GSH levels, which results in high levels of retained toxic metals, like mercury, in the body. The high levels of toxic metals in the body cause high rates of reactive oxygen species damage to the cells of the body. High levels of retained mercury in the body damages the thyroid hormone production in the liver (T-3 to T-4 conversion) and the process often leads to problems similar to mercury induced "Hashimoto's Thyroiditis" or hypothyroidism. Lowered GSH also acts to lower SOD, which is the prime free radical damage repair enzyme in the body. Oak Ridge's health data looks like someone released thyroid damaging I-131 upon it from a nuclear bomb. The high toxic metals also affect the pituitary gland, which regulates the thyroid and can cause hyperthyroidism, as it fails to sense the thyroid hormone levels in the blood circulation. Mercury is associated with an amalgamation like effect with selenium, which is needed for GSH production and thyroid hormone.
Since Fluorine and Aluminum from the environment spontaneously form the AlFx compounds which mimic the pituitary TSH, then one would expect the thyroid hormones T-3 and T-4 to no longer be controlled by the pituitary dynamic regulation that allows the cells to power down and the body to rest at night and repair all the high energy problems from the mitochondria processes of cells. This loss of control by the pituitary leads to the depletion of GSH in every cell in the body and the rise of toxic metals retention problems. For people with Chronic-Fatigue-Syndrome and GWI the problems of "night sweats" are directly connected to this TSH control problem due to toxic's from the environment. Doctors in Oak Ridge would run the simple TSH tests on thyroid and find this hormone to be low and think hypothyroidism, when the direct opposite of health problems for the thyroid problems was hyperthyroidism's high T-3 and T-4 levels causing the fatigue and exhaustion of GSH.
The key to the problem is that the AlFx compounds don't mimic the TSH well. The AlFx compounds don't follow the day and night variation of the pituitary TSH, and the AlFx compounds form nearly permanent bonds to TSH receptor sites on cells. These two effects severely upset the thyroid hormone regulation process and the production of GSH within the cells.
The composite chemical bomb that was dropped on Oak Ridge was one that destroyed the principle enzymes for cell removal of toxic metals and of free radical repair caused by these toxic metals. The chemical releases from the plants destroyed the proper thyroid hormone process for thousands of people around Oak Ridge. These enzymes are also the prime ones that detoxify the brain and eyes, and as these toxic metals rise in the brain there is a direct decline in IQ and even foggy mindedness as it worsens. This increased effect on the brain cell damage made the slow learning that has affected Appalachia for many decades much worse.
The largest driver for the damage to these two enzymes turned out to be the high amounts of hydrogen fluoride emitted from the K-25 plant and the TVA coal power plants that were used to supply the coal power to run this plant. In the mid 1980s the news was clear that Oak Ridge plant operations were causing all kinds of excess illnesses in the workers and local population, as this is when the glutathione toxic metals clearance mechanism was discovered.
Oak Ridge's management rather than truthfully report the problem designed a carefully crafted plan to attempt to cover it up and also to make the local doctors rich in supporting the cover up. Oak Ridge shut down the K-25 gas diffusion plant and this stopped part of the larger hydrogen fluoride releases in the area and it also cut some 3,000 megawatts of load from the TVA coal plants, which reduced hydrogen fluoride emissions more. This put the emissions from the plants into a sudden nose-dive to help conceal the rising health problem from the local townships.
Oak Ridge also needed to do more to change the damage rate to the enzymes GSH and SOD and that more was to put in a state of the art water purification plant for the city of Oak Ridge that avoided chlorine by using ozone to treat the water. This took away another damage factor that helped to slow the damage rate to the GSH and SOD levels in the affected population.
Oak Ridge also needed to hide this massive problem from the special investigations being done by varied groups and agencies and they did this via stacking the deck with the local Science types that would cover up the damage factors. Persons like ORNL's Owen Hoffman, SENES, and Chemrisk, avoided putting hydrogen fluoride from the screening process into the deeper ORHASP investigations and this then keeping the biggest of Oak Ridge problems out of public sight. Hoffman also avoided doing studies on the high rates of thyroid problems in Oak Ridge due to the high levels of retained toxic metals, like mercury, that are known to upset thyroid function. Chemrisk screwed up the uranium assessments by not including the effects of chemical damage to GSH in making the build up of toxic metals like uranium a serious problem.