PFAS may increase the risk of disease in unborn children, new study suggests

PFAS may increase the risk of disease in unborn children, new study suggests

PFAS are chemicals that may cause cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. Research from Örebro University and the University of Aberdeen now suggests that these chemicals affect people as early as the fetal stage of development.

 

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of thousands of synthetically produced chemicals used in a wide range of everyday products worldwide. They are often called “forever chemicals” since it takes a very long time for these substances to break down naturally and can remain in the bodies of humans and animals for many years.

There is strong evidence that PFAS can affect both the immune system and metabolism and exposure to certain levels of PFAS is associated with cancer, diabetes, and a variety of other diseases. These chemicals have been used since the 1950s in a wide variety of products, such as non-stick frying pans, ski boots, water-repellent clothing, and food packaging. They are also common in makeup and skin creams.

The team of researchers from Örebro University and the University of Aberdeen have published a study involving 78 fetuses in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health. It is the first study of its kind in which researchers have conducted extensive metabolic profiling and measured PFAS in human fetuses.

Professor Paul Fowler from the University of Aberdeen said: “We found PFAS in the livers of the fetuses, and unfortunately, the results provide strong evidence that exposure to these forever chemicals in the womb affects the unborn child. Those exposed to higher levels of PFAS have altered metabolism and liver function long before birth.”

The researchers consider it likely that at least some of these effects will be persistent and likely increase the risk of metabolic diseases in adulthood.

“We were surprised by these chemicals’ strong association with changes to the fetal metabolism. It’s similar to certain metabolic changes occurring in adults. Specifically, we found that PFAS exposure is linked with modified bile acid and lipid metabolism in the fetuses,” says Tuulia Hyötyläinen, professor of chemistry at Örebro University.

The liver plays a significant role in human well-being.

“Changes in the central metabolism can profoundly affect the whole body. In particular, changes during fetal development can have long-lasting consequences for future health,” added Professor Orešič.

The likely impact of PFAS is similar to the changes that occur as a result of metabolic diseases like diabetes and fatty liver. The 78 fetuses analysed by the researchers were voluntarily aborted between weeks 12 and 19 and considered essentially healthy.

Several types of PFAS are banned by the EU, where regulations are stricter than in, for example, China. Diseases such as childhood obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed in China in recent years. Researchers believe that PFAS and other environmental chemicals may be one of the causes of this increase.

Professor Orešič continued: “A connection is very likely. And it may turn out that exposure to harmful chemicals has a comparable or even greater impact than lifestyle when it comes to certain diseases.”

He and his colleagues at Örebro University hope their research will contribute to greater awareness and stricter regulation of PFAS.

Search News

Browse by Month

2024

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2024
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2024
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2024
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2024
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2024
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2024
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2024
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2024
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2024

2023

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2023
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2023
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2023
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2023
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2023
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2023
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2023
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2023
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2023
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2023
  12. Dec

2022

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2022
  3. Mar
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2022
  5. May
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2022
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2022
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2022
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2022

2021

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2021
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2020

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2020
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2020
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2020
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2019

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2019
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2018

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2018
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2018
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2018
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2018
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2018
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2018
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2017

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2017
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2017
  9. Sep
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2017
  11. Nov
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2017

2016

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2016
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2016
  12. Dec

2014

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2014
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2012

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2012
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2012
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2012
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2012
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2012
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2012
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2012
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2012
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2012
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2012