Watch out for the harmful effects of forever chemicals as they may contribute to the spread of cancer.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFAS) have been found to potentially accelerate the progression of colorectal cancer, according to a groundbreaking study conducted by esteemed researchers at the prestigious Yale School of Public Health. This significant discovery sheds light on the possible link between firefighters, who frequently come into contact with PFAS in firefighting foam, and their increased susceptibility to developing and succumbing to various forms of cancer, including colorectal cancer.
It is crucial to note that PFAS are colloquially referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their remarkable persistence in the environment and their remarkable ability to bioaccumulate in both human beings and wildlife alike. Once inside the human body, these PFAS compounds boast half-lives ranging from two to five years, highlighting their long-lasting impact. In light of this, extensive usage of PFAS can be witnessed across a wide range of consumer products, such as nonstick cookware, stain-resistant fabric, and even firefighting foams.
Moreover, it is important to acknowledge that PFAS, which exhibit endocrine-disrupting properties, have been consistently linked to hormone imbalances and disruption in metabolic processes, thereby adversely impacting fertility, growth, and overall development. However, as more research emerges, there is an increasing understanding that PFAS may also play a role in the development and progression of cancer, even actively promoting its spread within the body.
PFAS Could Promote the Spread of Cancer
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been linked to the promotion of cancer metastasis. Among different types of PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been classified as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, while perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is considered possibly carcinogenic to humans.
A population exposed to PFAS at significant levels includes firefighters, who due to job-related chemical exposures, tend to have higher PFAS levels in their bodies compared to the general population. This increased exposure has also been associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. It is estimated that about 80% of these cancer cases are attributable to environmental exposures.
The study conducted by Caroline Johnson, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology, involved the immersion of two types of colorectal cancer cells in a PFAS solution for up to seven days. This experiment revealed metabolic changes signaling cancer metastasis, as well as increased cell motility. Although it does not conclusively prove metastasis, the observations indicate augmented cell motility, which is a key feature associated with the spread of cancer.
Furthermore, these cancer cells demonstrated an enhanced migration ability and an inclination to invade membranes. A news release from the Yale School of Public Health described an additional experiment where cells were grown in a two-dimensional layer and then separated by a scratch. Upon the addition of PFAS, the cell lines grew and migrated back together again. Metabolomic analysis of the resulting spheroids showed the production of various fatty acids, amino acids, and signaling proteins associated with metastasis.
The PFAS exposure levels used in this study were similar to those experienced by firefighters and individuals with increased exposure, such as those residing near military bases, landfills, airports, and wastewater treatment plants. Further research is planned to explore the effects of lower levels of PFAS exposure experienced by the average person in their daily lives.
PFAS Exposure May Worsen Colorectal Cancer Outcome
According to recent research findings, it has been observed that exposure to PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) could potentially have a negative impact on the prognosis of individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Studies have revealed that there is a direct correlation between the increase in PFAS mixtures and a subsequent rise in the number of metastatic lymph nodes in colorectal cancer patients, with each quantile increase contributing to a 4.67% increment.
Furthermore, when analyzing patients with serum PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) concentrations at the 95th percentile, it was found that the number of metastatic lymph nodes was notably higher compared to those with concentrations at the threshold level, showing a 27% increase.
These findings are significant as they also indicate that exposure to PFOS (Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid) can potentially lead to gastrointestinal inflammation, further contributing to the development of ulcerative colitis, which is a common precursor to colorectal cancer.
It is important to note that PFAS exposure may induce alterations in gene expression, as well as epigenetic changes that can initiate inflammation, disrupt endocrine regulation, and alter metabolism and cell signaling pathways, ultimately promoting the development of carcinogenesis. Notably, researchers in Frontiers of Toxicology have explained in their publication that the existing literature strongly supports a link between long-term exposure to PFOS, dysregulation of lipid metabolism, inflammation, dysfunctions in the microbiome, and the etiology of colorectal cancer.
These findings shed light on the potential risks associated with PFAS exposure in the context of colorectal cancer and highlight the need for further research in this area.
PFAS Exposure Increases Thyroid Cancer Risk
Exposure to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) has been found to increase the risk of thyroid cancer, according to a recent study. The researchers examined the association between plasma PFAS levels and the diagnosis of thyroid cancer, using data from 88 patients with thyroid cancer and 88 matched controls without thyroid cancer. They measured the levels of eight PFAS and found a significant correlation.
The study revealed that for each doubling of linear perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (n-PFOS) intensity, there was a 56% increased rate of thyroid cancer diagnosis. A subgroup analysis was also conducted on 31 patients who were diagnosed with thyroid cancer a year or more after enrolling in the study. This analysis showed an association between exposure to PFOS and thyroid cancer risk, as well as exposure to other PFAS such as branched perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, perfluorononanoic acid, perfluorooctylphosphonic acid, and linear perfluorohexanesulfonic acid.
The mechanism by which PFAS may contribute to cancer includes changes in epigenetics, immunosuppression, oxidative stress, inflammation, hormone pathways, and metabolomic pathways. The accumulation of epigenetic events induced by PFAS exposure can synergistically amplify tumorigenicity and cancer progression. Furthermore, immune system suppression and chronic inflammation likely play a role in the development of cancer.
Studies have shown that PFOS and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) have immuno-toxic effects and can suppress the immune system, affecting the body’s response to foreign antigens, including those on tumor cells. Additionally, PFOS exposure has been inversely associated with decreased levels of anti-mumps and anti-rubella antibodies, as well as reduced antibody response to tetanus and diphtheria among children, indicating its ability to cause systemic immunosuppression. Chronic inflammation, which is known to drive cancer development, has also been linked to PFOS exposures.
Finally, PFOS has been found to activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, contributing to the development and regulation of thyroid cancers.
In summary, exposure to PFAS, particularly PFOS, is associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer through various mechanisms involving epigenetics, immunosuppression, oxidative stress, inflammation, and hormone pathways. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring and reducing PFAS exposure to mitigate cancer risks.
Here are some additional health risks associated with PFAS exposure:
Exposure to high levels of PFAS is known to cause significant health problems, including damage to the immune system. Studies in both humans and animals have shown that such exposure may reduce your resistance to infectious disease, which is definitely something to be aware of. In addition, there is evidence suggesting that exposure to PFAS may also have negative effects on vision health. This finding is especially concerning given that PFAS are often found in contact lenses.
A large population-based study conducted in China found that exposure to PFAS increased the risk of visual impairment. This increase in risk may be due to the ability of PFAS to induce oxidative stress in the body. PFAS have been shown to be pro-oxidants, meaning that they can cause damage to DNA, lipids, and other components of cells. They can also generate reactive species and inhibit antioxidant enzymes, leading to a cascade of harmful effects.
It’s not just the general population that is at risk from PFAS exposure. Military members who were exposed to PFAS on military bases have reported a range of eye conditions, including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. This further underscores the importance of being aware of the potential dangers associated with these substances.
It’s worth noting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acknowledges the harmful effects of PFAS exposure. They state that peer-reviewed scientific studies have demonstrated that exposure to PFAS may cause various health issues.
It is crucial to stay informed about the risks associated with PFAS exposure and take necessary precautions to minimize exposure whenever possible.
PFAS, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been found to have detrimental effects on our health. In fact, they have been linked to accelerating metabolic changes that can lead to the development of fatty liver. This bioaccumulation, combined with the long half-lives of many PFAS, raises concerns about their potential to disrupt liver homeostasis even if their industrial use is reduced. This is a cause for concern, as these substances can continue to accumulate in human tissue.
Additionally, exposure to PFAS may also contribute to inflammation and oxidative stress in youth, which in turn could contribute to various diseases such as obesity, insulin resistance, and an increased risk for fatty liver disease. The consequences of PFAS exposure are not limited to physical health alone. There is also the potential for PFAS to be associated with an increased risk of cancer.
It is crucial to raise awareness about the harmful effects of PFAS and take steps to minimize exposure to these substances in order to safeguard our health and well-being.
Where Are PFAS Found in Our Modern World?
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a concerning group of chemicals due to their widespread presence and toxicity. It’s alarming to note that there are more than 9,000 different PFAS compounds, further contributing to their ubiquitous nature. In fact, studies have shown that PFAS have been detected in a staggering 97% of the American population, emphasizing the extensive exposure we face. These disruptive compounds can be found in various environmental mediums such as water, soil, air, and food, making their presence even more worrisome.
Close to home, PFAS can be found in common household items, including stain- and water-repellant fabrics, cleaning products, nonstick cookware, and paint. Furthermore, it’s highly likely that even your drinking water may contain traces of PFAS. The reach of these harmful chemicals extends to fast food containers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, candy wrappers, as well as unexpected sources like pasta and tomato sauces, sports bras, tampons, dental floss, and even period underwear like Thinx.
The farmland is not immune to PFAS contamination either, igniting what can only be described as a “slow-motion disaster.” This is attributed to the use of toxic human waste sludge as fertilizer, which plagues an estimated 20 million acres of farmland in the United States alone. It’s deeply concerning how extensively PFAS have infiltrated our daily lives, often without our knowledge or consent.
While it can be overwhelming to navigate a world infiltrated by PFAS, there are steps you can take to limit your exposure. Supporting sustainable agriculture movements in your area can help mitigate the risk of consuming foods grown with PFAS-contaminated sewage sludge. Opting for food sources that adhere to safe, nontoxic organic or biodynamic farming practices provides an added layer of assurance. Additionally, prioritize consuming fresh, whole foods to minimize your exposure to PFAS present in food packaging.
When it comes to drinking water, filtering is crucial to eliminate PFAS contaminants. The New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute recommends utilizing granulated activated carbon or similarly effective technologies to remove chemicals like PFOA and PFOS from your water supply. Activated carbon is known to remove approximately 90% of these chemicals, offering a significant reduction in exposure.
While reverse osmosis can also contribute to PFAS removal, it’s important to note that not all PFAS compounds are effectively eliminated. As such, it’s crucial to employ a comprehensive approach to minimize exposure. For further tips on avoiding these persistent chemicals, consider referring to EWG’s comprehensive “Guide to Avoiding PFAS,” which offers additional valuable insights to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.
What to Look For:
Remember, knowledge and action are key in protecting yourself from the pervasive and concerning presence of PFAS. By making informed choices and advocating for safer practices, we can collectively work towards reducing our exposure to these harmful substances.
To minimize exposure to potential harmful chemicals in everyday products, consider the following recommendations:
Pretreated or stain-repellent treatments: It is advisable to opt out of these treatments when purchasing clothing, furniture, and carpeting. Clothing that is advertised as “breathable” often contains polytetrafluoroethylene, a synthetic fluoropolymer.
Products treated with flame retardant chemicals: Furniture, carpet, mattresses, and baby items can be treated with flame retardant chemicals. Instead, choose materials like leather, wool, and cotton, which have natural flame-resistant properties.
Fast food and carry-out foods: Take note that the containers used for fast food and carry-out foods are typically treated. Consider alternatives that use safer and more sustainable packaging.
Microwave popcorn: It is worth mentioning that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may be present in the inner coating of microwave popcorn bags. Instead, consider using “old-fashioned” stovetop non-GMO popcorn for a healthier option.
Nonstick cookware and treated kitchen utensils: Opt for healthier alternatives such as ceramic and enameled cast iron cookware. These options are not only durable and easy to clean but also completely inert, meaning they won’t release any harmful chemicals into your home.
Personal care products containing PTFE, “fluoro,” or “perfluoro” ingredients: Be cautious of personal care products that contain these ingredients, such as Oral B Glide floss. To find safer alternatives, consult the EWG Skin Deep database, which is an excellent resource for healthier personal care options.
By being mindful of these recommendations, you can make informed choices to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and prioritize your well-being.