Daily exposure to common ‘forever chemicals’ at home may lead to cancer

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Scientists from New York University found daily exposure to a class of chemicals used in the production of many household items may lead to cancer, thyroid disease, and childhood obesity.

The resulting economic burden is estimated to cost Americans a minimum of $5.5 billion and as much as $63 billion over the lifetime of the current population.

The research is published in Exposure and Health and was conducted by Linda Kahn et al.

The new work revolves around per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of over 4,700 manmade chemicals that experts have detected for decades in the blood of millions of people.

The chemicals are used, for example, in the production of water- and oil-resistant clothing, electronics, and nonstick cookware, and people are thought to ingest them as food comes into contact with packaging.

The substances are believed to disrupt the function of hormones, signaling compounds that influence many bodily processes.

Previous investigations have quantified the medical burden and financial costs of low birth weight due to PFAS exposure.

However, the new study incorporates a much broader range of health consequences across the lifespan.

In the study, the team examined 5,000 Americans and identified 13 medical conditions that may result from PFAS exposure, such as infertility, diabetes, and endometriosis, a painful disorder of the uterus.

Together, the diseases generate medical bills and reduce worker productivity across a lifetime to create the costs measured by the study.

These findings add to the substantial and still-mounting body of evidence suggesting that exposure to PFAS is harming our health and undermining the economy

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