Forever Chemicals are ubiquitous in today’s environment, appearing in everything from food we eat to the drinking water we drink to the items in our household cleaners.
A new study has shown that these ubiquitous chemicals, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), are now also being found inside of people’s livers.
The link between liver cancer and these PFASs remains controversial, but research shows a strong correlation.
If you want to stay safe from these forever chemicals, it’s best to avoid them entirely.
Forever chemicals linked to liver cancer:
A new study has found that synthetic forever chemicals are widely present in the environment and are linked to liver cancer.
The chemicals, known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), are used in a variety of consumer products, including non-stick cookware, food packaging, and stain-resistant fabrics.
PFASs are resistant to degradation and can accumulate in the environment and in the human body over time. Exposure to these chemicals is associated with an increased risk for certain cancers and other health effects.
Exposure is especially high among people who eat seafood from areas where these chemicals have been used extensively in industry or farming.
One type of PFAS, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), was recently added to the list of hazardous substances under Canada’s Environmental Protection Act.
The US Food and Drug Administration plans to finalize its ban on some uses of three types of PFAS this year.
However, there are no regulations currently in place to protect populations living near sites where these chemicals were manufactured or used commercially.
How common are they?
The chemical, known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), is used in a variety of products, including non-stick cookware, food packaging, and stain-resistant coatings.
It has been classified as a likely human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Previous studies have shown associations between PFOA exposure and thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, kidney cancer, and testicular cancer. However, this recent study was the first to link PFOA exposure with liver cancer specifically.
The scientists studied 614 people who had died from liver cancer over the course of nine years in order to assess their PFOA levels.
People with high PFOA levels were more than twice as likely to die from liver cancer than those who had low or no detectable amounts of the chemical in their blood.
Those whose average level of PFOA was higher than 20 parts per billion were also twice as likely to die from liver cancer than those whose average level was lower than 5 parts per billion.
What are they doing to our bodies?
Synthetic forever chemicals are man-made chemicals that do not break down in the environment. They have been linked to a variety of health problems, including liver cancer.
A recent study found that when exposed to these substances, rats experienced an increase in the number of tumors in their livers.
The researchers from the study believe this is because these compounds were able to cause more toxic molecules to be released into cells, which then increased their chances of turning into tumors.
In particular, one substance called PCDDs was found in high concentrations and caused tumors more often than any other synthetic chemical studied so far.
The implications of this study could lead to new regulations being put in place that would restrict or ban the use of some such chemicals. The scientists hope their findings will make people more aware about what is happening inside our bodies on a molecular level.
This could lead them to be much more cautious about how they live their lives, especially with regard to what products they buy and consume every day, such as cosmetics or food items.
The researchers also said that these chemicals should not enter the environment at all and needs to be avoided. They recommend organic alternatives for products where possible, but also point out it is hard to avoid exposure since there are so many sources.
One example given by the researchers is drinking water: it may contain traces of drugs excreted by pharmaceutical companies into public sewage systems.
What should we do about it?
A new study has found that a synthetic forever chemical is linked to liver cancer. The chemical, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), is used in a variety of products, from nonstick cookware to stain-resistant fabrics.
Researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the blood samples of 621 people with liver cancer and 4,000 without it who were involved in past studies on occupational hazards, then calculated the levels of PFASs for each participant.
They found that those with higher PFAS levels had a 77% increased risk for developing liver cancer than those with lower levels.
It should be noted that the U.S. EPA lists PFOA as a probable human carcinogen and recent epidemiological data support associations between exposure to PFOS and PFOA with tumor development, said lead author Marc Weisskopf, MD.
What we don’t know yet is how these results will translate into clinical practice. While these findings do not prove causation, they do suggest there’s cause for concern when it comes to our exposure to this chemical.
Will banning these chemicals be enough?
The findings, published in the journal Nature, raise serious concerns about the safety of these chemicals and their potential health impacts.
It’s a wake-up call, said Rachel Giora, an Israeli professor of chemistry at Tel Aviv University who was not involved in the research. We need more testing on this group of chemicals before we can be confident that they’re safe for human use.
The researchers came across the findings by analyzing data from over 20 years worth of monitoring studies carried out by the U.S., Canada and Australia.
They found that people with higher levels of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were more likely to have developed liver cancer than those with lower levels.
But it remains unclear how the PFASs might cause such disease or if there is any connection between them and other forms of cancer.
A new study has found that a synthetic forever chemical is widely found in the environment and is linked to liver cancer. The chemical, known as PFAS, is used in a variety of products, including non-stick cookware, food packaging, and stain-resistant fabrics. While the health effects of PFAS exposure are still being studied, this new research adds to the growing body of evidence linking PFAS to serious health problems.
Exposure can happen through contact with contaminated water or from eating contaminated fish. The EPA states that PFAS does not appear to pose any immediate health concerns for people who eat fish or drink water containing these substances at levels below 400 parts per trillion. However, drinking water with concentrations above the EPA’s threshold can cause rashes and acne, certain cancers like testicular and kidney cancers, thyroid disease, low birth weight babies, and decreased fertility.