Nowhere to hide: Forever chemicals inescapably linked to deadly diseases

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pfas-chemicals(NaturalHealth365)  The diseases many of our parents and grandparents were diagnosed with might have been caused by forever chemicals, also referred to as PFAS, also known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances.

A study recently conducted by researchers in Italy and published in Environmental Health determined nearly ubiquitous forever chemicals are tied to an increase in mortality resulting from kidney problems, issues with reproductive organs, and heart disease.  Experts on the subject matter consider the above analysis important as it is the first to prove a connection between exposure to forever chemicals and cardiovascular mortality.

PFAS chemicals everywhere: From consumer products to workplace exposures

PFAS synthetic chemicals are prevalent in numerous consumer products, and workers in factories and construction sites are regularly exposed to them through industrial applications.  While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to designate PFAS as hazardous substances and limit their presence in drinking water through Superfund legislation, these actions appear to be ‘too little, too late.’

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced the development of a method to detect nearly twice as many PFAS in food.  However, the lesser-known reality is that PFAS are virtually inescapable.  Whether in plastic food containers, Band-Aids, artificial turf, or firefighting equipment, exposure to PFAS is widespread and poses inherent health risks.

The connection between PFAS and cardiovascular problems

The study mentioned above was conducted by researchers in the Veneto region of Italy, home to 150,000 residents.  This area in northern Italy has been exposed to PFAS in water since the 1980s, largely due to the region’s manufacturing activities that produce PFAS-laden consumer products.

The analysis involved data from 60,000 individuals living in the northern region of Italy from 1980 to 2018.  Over the three decades following the PFAS contamination, those exposed to these chemicals experienced 3,890 more deaths than would have been expected otherwise.  This excess death count was determined by comparing the region’s residents to a control group.

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Researchers attribute the excess deaths to cardiovascular disease resulting from PFAS exposure.  Exposed individuals had a higher risk of death from heart disease, particularly due to an accumulation of coronary plaque leading to ischemic heart disease.

Furthermore, the researchers found a causal relationship between PFAS exposure and kidney and testicular cancer.  High PFAS exposure increased the risk of death after kidney cancer by 73% between 2015 and 2018.  Additionally, between the mid-1980s and the end of the millennium, there was a 40% increase in the risk of death from testicular cancer.

How to reduce your PFAS exposure

If you haven’t contacted your state’s congress representatives expressing your desire for a PFAS production ban, do so right away.  Your voice can contribute to legislative action to reduce the prevalence of these chemicals.

Reduce your exposure to PFAS in everyday life by minimizing contact with food packaging and other consumer product packaging.  When you return from the grocery store, immediately transfer packaged food to PFAS-free containers.  Avoid heating packaged food in the microwave or reheating food inside plastic containers, as this can increase the risk of PFAS contamination.

Purify tap water before drinking it to remove contaminants, including PFAS.  Store your drinking water in glass containers to prevent microplastics from leaching out of plastic bottles into the water.  This ensures that the water you drink for hydration and health is free from harmful chemicals.

When purchasing household products, opt for PFAS-free alternatives whenever possible.  Look for labels or certifications indicating that the product is free from PFAS or other harmful chemicals.

Avoid using nonstick cookware coated with PFAS.  Instead, choose safer alternatives such as stainless steel, cast iron or ceramic cookware.

Dispose of products containing PFAS, such as nonstick cookware or stain-resistant fabrics, properly according to local regulations.  Avoid burning or incinerating these items, as it can release PFAS into the environment.

By implementing these practical tips, you can proactively reduce your exposure to PFAS and protect your health and the environment.

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