April 10, 2017

Attack of the killer sofa

From the Herald (from the Daily Mail)

Materials used to fireproof sofas are linked to a 74% rise in thyroid tumours

From the American Cancer Society

The chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has risen in recent years and is the most rapidly increasing cancer in the US tripling in the past three decades. Much of this rise appears to be the result of the increased use of thyroid ultrasound, which can detect small thyroid nodules that might not otherwise have been found in the past.

That is, thyroid cancer looks as if it’s more common at least partly because diagnosis has improved. It could potentially still be true that fire retardants are a problem as well, but the  “killer sofa” people either don’t know about out about the changes in diagnosis or do know but don’t think we need to be told.  Either way, I don’t think it increases their credibility.


Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »