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A study has revealed that exposure to a widespread, toxic chemical may interfere with bone development in both children and young adults. The forever chemical can also potentially put them at greater risk for bone health issues, such as osteoporosis, later in life.The study, which focused mainly on Hispanic individuals from southern California, was published in the journal Environmental Research.
Forever chemicals: PFOS and PFAS
More commonly known as “forever chemicals,” PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals are a family of synthetic chemicals that builds up in humans. PFAs are often linked to different health problems, including cancer.
The two most widely detected PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), are commonly used in various products for their properties of high stability and low surface tension.
Both PFOA and PFOS are found in various items, such as cookware and paper food packaging. These chemicals are also used to make personal care products, carpeting and firefighting foam and they are used to provide stain resistance.
According to the study, PFOS was a widespread type of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that was linked to lower bone mineral density in a group of 328 overweight Hispanic children and a group of 158 young adults of mixed ethnicity.
The study was unique because researchers tracked links between bone density and PFAS blood serum levels over time.
Emily Beglarian, a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine and the lead author of the study, explained that existing research has confirmed links between PFAS and bone health. However, some of these previous studies have only “collected information at (a) one-time point from participants.”
Beglarian added that other existing studies were focused on non-Hispanic, white participants while many focused on older adults. While Hispanic people are at high risk for developing osteoporosis as adults, they are usually not included in research on bone health.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are more than 12,000 PFAS chemicals that do not break down naturally and have been found in at least 45 percent of U.S. tap water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also reported that PFAS has been found in the blood of at least 97 percent of Americans.
Previous studies have found that exposure to PFAS was associated with various health problems, including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis.
PFOS and PFAS can cause cancer
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), has classified PFOS as possibly carcinogenic to humans.
Meanwhile, global scientific cancer experts have also classified PFOA, another widely used PFAS chemical, as carcinogenic to humans.
According to earlier research, PFAS may disrupt the formation of cells that build new bone material. Studies have also linked exposure to PFAS with worse bone health in both children and adults.
However, according to Beglarian, the effects of these forever chemicals on bone development are a rather new area of study.
To shed more light on how PFAS might impact bone development, Beglarian and her colleagues studied data from a cohort of children ages eight to 13 who were recruited between 2001 and 2012. The young volunteers received follow-up appointments for about a year and a half and were recruited several years later than the adolescent group.
The research team also analyzed data from a cohort of young adults ages 17 to 22 who were recruited between 2014 and 2018. The young adult volunteers received follow-up appointments for about four years.
For each group, the scientists estimated associations over time between the participants’ bone density and measurements of five PFAS chemicals in their blood serum. The young adult group, after more PFAS regulations had been put in place, had lower levels of PFAS than the adolescent group.
Jesse Goodrich, an assistant professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine and an author of the study, warned that even with less of the chemicals in their blood, the young adult group still showed signs of worrying bone health issues often linked to PFAS exposure. (Related: Forever chemicals pose greater cancer risk to women than men, study finds.)
Goodrich added that even if the research team observed lower levels in the young adults that were measured more recently, they still saw very similar and consistent results between the two cohorts. And while some regulations are lowering PFAS levels, Goodrich called for “larger policies to fully eradicate these, if possible.”
The research team plans to investigate whether the links that they have observed are consistent throughout a lifetime. They also want to learn how PFAS work at a cellular level to reduce bone mineral density.
Visit Chemicals.news to learn more about the adverse effects of forever chemicals.
Watch the video below about the EPA forcing Ohio toxic waste on facilities that are unable to process dioxins/PFAs.
This video is from the What is happening channel on Brighteon.com.
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