Recent research funded by the US government has discovered a concerning link between exposure to “forever chemicals” also known as PFAS, and a higher risk of certain types of cancer in women. Why are forever chemicals bad? How can you achieve peace of mind from forever chemicals?
This study, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sheds light on the potential dangers of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and phenols, which are commonly found in everyday products.
This study is part of ongoing research funded by the National Institutes of Environmental Health, aimed at better understanding the impact of PFAS chemicals on human health.
The researchers found that women exposed to these chemicals faced an elevated risk of ovarian cancer and other hormone-related cancers. In fact, the odds of developing melanoma doubled for women with high chemical exposure. These chemicals are commonly used in various household and industrial items, including stain- and heat-resistant products.
What are PFAS?
PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” earned their nickname because they don’t naturally break down in the environment. This means they can linger in water, soil, air, and food for a long time. Shockingly, around 97% of Americans have PFAS in their blood, and approximately 45% of US drinking water contains PFAS contaminants, according to the CDC and the US Geological Survey.
The study focused on the effects of these chemicals on women, as they may disrupt hormone functions that are specific to females. Hormonally driven cancers are notoriously difficult to treat, making it crucial to investigate potential environmental causes.
Max Aung, an assistant professor of environmental health at the USC Kreck School of Medicine and one of the senior authors of the study, emphasized the importance of this research. “These chemicals can increase the risk of various different health outcomes and they can alter your biological pathways… That is important to know so that we can better prevent exposures and mitigate risks,” Aung stated.
The research involved data collected from over 10,000 people through a CDC biomonitoring program spanning from 2005 to 2018.
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