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Exposure to common ‘forever’ chemicals linked to risk factor for heart disease: study


Photo: New York State Department of Health

Nanjing, China — A recent study highlighting the expected ties between exposure to cancer-causing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and a risk factor for heart disease could impact workers.

Researchers from the Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences found that U.S. adults exposed to various PFAS – also known as forever chemicals because they break down slowly over time – have a higher risk of hyperlipidemia. The condition refers to high cholesterol and other dysregulated lipid levels and is associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

2023 research review by NIOSH reports that exposure to PFAS is common “across occupations.” Although workers involved in PFAS-based chemical manufacturing have the highest exposure levels, textile mill workers, metal plating workers, office workers, fishers and barbers also face a risk.

The Nanjing researchers looked at 2017-2018 data from a nationally representative group of 1,600 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that nearly 3 out of 5 participants had hyperlipidemia, while eight of the nine PFAS studied were present in more than 85% of the participants.

Further, the participants in the two highest categories of exposure to one PFAS faced a 41% to 57% higher risk of hyperlipidemia.

The researchers call for “stricter management” of products containing PFAS.

The study was published online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Original article published by  the National Safety Council