PFAS linked to increased cases of liver disease in humans, scientists say

Maine currently relies on PFAS contamination in everything from drinking water to wild deer. But there are still many unknowns about the effects of chemicals. Here’s an overview of what we know so far and fill out this form if you have any questions.

Three of the most commonly detected PFAS – often called “eternal chemicals” because they break down slowly in the environment – ​​have been linked to an enzyme that indicates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a study from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

These specific chemicals are called PFOS, PFOA, and PFNA, and are three of the most studied chemicals forever found in products such as nonstick pans, rainwear, and take-out containers.

Why is this important: Maine relies on PFAS contamination in everything from drinking water and agricultural soil to freshwater fish and wild deer. But it is still unclear how much of the chemicals must be consumed to be considered dangerous to our health, and what the effects of the chemicals are. PFAS have been linked to liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression, and cancer.

Essential context: Much of the PFAS contamination in Maine dates back to the practice of spreading sludge on farmland beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, when it was touted as a cost-effective way to improve soil fertility. and a means of disposing of waste for locals. sewage treatment plants and paper mills.

Key quote: “This research clearly shows that PFAS should be taken seriously as a human health issue, because even after removal, they persist in the environment,” said Elizabeth Costello, a doctoral student at the Keck School of Medicine and one of the main authors of the study, said in a press release. “We believe there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate the need to clean up sources of PFAS exposures and prevent future exposures.”

One more thing : The research, which analyzed more than 100 studies assessing PFAS exposure and liver injury in humans and rats, found consistent results between PFAS exposure and an indicator of fatty liver disease in rodents. It is more difficult to establish a clear cause and effect for some PFAS chemicals in humans because humans are exposed to many chemical combinations.

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