PFAS, “perennial chemical pollutants,” pollute the environment and are suspected of affecting our health. Researchers have just demonstrated higher levels of these substances in the bodies of women who previously suffered from various types of cancer.
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A large US National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) links exposure to chemicals such as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and phenols with a prior cancer diagnosis. However, the study published in Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology does not prove that this exposure is the cause of these cancer diagnoses. “ This is a strong sign that these endocrine disruptors may play a role and should be studied further. », indicate the authors.
PFAS, which contaminate water and food, have long been suspected of being dangerous to health. They are even called “forever pollutants” because they resist decomposition and therefore last for decades in the environment. For the study, researchers extracted PFAS and phenol/paraben concentrations from blood and urine samples, as well as self-reported diagnoses of melanoma (skin cancer), thyroid cancer, breast, ovarian, uterine and prostate cancer in more than 10,000 Adults.
PFAS: a planetary limit exceeded before it is even defined!
A possible alteration of hormonal function.
The results show that, among women in particular, higher exposure to a particular PFAS compound doubled the risks of a previous melanoma diagnosis. Additionally, a higher likelihood of a history of ovarian cancer has been associated with various phenols and parabens. The study also found racial differences. Associations between several PFAS and ovarian and uterine cancers have only been observed in white women, whereas associations between a PFAS and a phenol (BPF) and breast cancer have only been observed in non-white women.
These chemicals could affect hormonal pathways in the pathology of these cancers in women. “ PFAS appear to alter hormonal function, providing a potential mechanism that increases the risk of hormone-related cancers in women “said Amber Cathey, study author and researcher at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
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