Saturday, September 03, 2022

Ubiquitous ‘Forever Chemicals’ Increase Risk of Liver Cancer, Researchers Report


By Victoria St. Martin
August 30, 2022

The ubiquity of the toxic class of substances commonly known as “forever chemicals” is well established. Now, medical researchers have zeroed in on their effects on a crucial component of the human body’s internal filtration system: the liver.

In a peer-reviewed study published this month in JHEP Reports, a sister publication of the Journal of Hepatology, researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California found that people who had the highest levels of exposure to the chemical perfluorooctane sulfonic acid were 4.5 times more likely to develop liver cancer than those with the lowest exposure.


PFAS are known as forever chemicals because of the slow rate at which they break down in the environment and their persistence in accumulating in the human body and other organisms. Commonly used in such household items as nonstick pans, cleaning products and stain-resistant coatings on fabrics and carpet, they have been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers, suppress immune system response, decrease fertility and lead to developmental delays in children.

Although earlier research had linked occurrences of liver cancer in animals to PFAS, the study is one of the first that connects the most common form of liver cancer in humans, hepatocellular carcinoma, to the chemicals.


“A really important part of the studies is actually being able to say that before these people got cancer, they had higher levels” of the chemicals, Goodrich said. “And that helps us to determine that it’s more likely in this situation that it’s actually PFAS that are associated with the cancer as opposed to just some sort of random chance.”

 Goodrich said that one of the more critical implications of the findings was the high mortality rate associated with liver cancer, which in 2020 was the world’s third-deadliest form of cancer. The five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with liver cancer is about 20%.


The findings on PFAS and liver cancer were made public roughly a week after the release of a report by the National Academies calling for increased testing among people with a history of elevated exposure to the chemicals.

That includes those with “occupational exposure, those who have lived in communities with documented contamination and those who have lived where contamination may have occurred,” the academies’ study said, like people living near airports, military bases, wastewater treatment plants, farms, landfills and incinerators.

For those with 2 nanograms per milliliter of PFAS in their blood, the academies recommend routine screening for high cholesterol and breast cancer. For those with higher levels, annual thyroid testing is recommended, as is regular screening for kidney and testicular cancer.


No comments:

Post a Comment