New Study Suggests Link Between “Forever Chemicals” and Thyroid Cancer
A recent study conducted by doctors from Mount Sinai hospital in New York has found a potential link between certain chemicals known as “forever chemicals” and thyroid cancer. The researchers tested blood samples from individuals with and without thyroid cancer and discovered that patients with the disease were 56% more likely to have high levels of PFAS chemicals in their system.
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their resistance to breaking down in the environment and the human body. These chemicals have been used in everyday products since the 1940s, including clothing, carpeting, food packaging, and stain repellants. However, concerns about their health effects have been raised for decades.
Thyroid cancer has seen a significant increase since the 1940s, with improved diagnostic abilities being the primary explanation. However, this study provides evidence to support the potential role of PFAS exposure in the development of thyroid cancer. The specific chemical studied, n-PFOS, is commonly used as a stain repellant in clothing and carpeting, as well as a grease-resistant coating for food packaging.
PFAS chemicals have been found to disrupt the endocrine system, which includes the thyroid gland. They can mimic or block natural hormones and interfere with the release of thyroid hormones, leading to unregulated cell growth and replication, characteristics of cancer.
The study involved 88 adults with thyroid cancer and 88 healthy individuals, with blood samples collected between 2008 and 2021. All participants were from the New York metropolitan area, providing a diverse population for the study.
Thyroid cancer affects the gland in the front part of the neck responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. It is estimated that 44,000 Americans will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year, with a survival rate of around 98% when detected early.
The widespread use of PFAS chemicals in various products over the years has resulted in their presence in the environment and human tissues. In fact, it is nearly impossible to avoid PFAS chemicals in daily life, with 97% of Americans having these chemicals in their bloodstream.
Concerns about the health effects of PFAS exposure have been raised for decades, with evidence suggesting that companies like DuPont and 3M were aware of the risks associated with these chemicals. This study further highlights the need for continued industry changes to eliminate PFAS altogether and encourages individuals to discuss their PFAS exposure with their healthcare providers.
As the research on the potential link between PFAS chemicals and thyroid cancer continues, it is essential for individuals to stay informed and take necessary precautions to minimize their exposure to these harmful substances. More research is needed, but the study raises important questions about the impact of “forever chemicals” on human health.
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