Scientific investigators around the world continue to explore the human health risks of PFAS. The chemical group PFAS includes reference to PFOS and PFOA chemicals. Dupont and 3M created PFAS chemicals and hold patents on their chemical composition. Although most research primarily concerns drinking water exposure, scientific investigations have turned to look at other exposures, like firefighter turnout gear. Data continues to develop on health effects related to inhalation and dermal exposure to PFAS. Overall, researchers find exposure to certain levels of PFAS increases the risk of adverse health effects.
PFAS Exposure Causes Cancer
The available epidemiological and animal studies suggest links between PFAS exposure and negative health outcomes, including:
- Increased cholesterol and liver weight (Hepatic Effects)
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia (Cardiovascular Effects)
- Thyroid disease (Endocrine Effects)
- Decreased vaccine response (Immune Effects)
- Decreased birth weight (Developmental Effects)
- Kidney, liver, testicular, and prostate cancer (Carcinogenic Effects)
The EPA Concludes PFAS Exposure Increases Cancer Risk
The EPA concludes exposure to PFAS increases the risk of certain cancers and other diseases. Similarly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies PFOA as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Furthermore, studies associate higher PFOA serum levels with testicular, kidney, prostate, and liver cancers. More research found increases in prostate, kidney, and testicular cancers in workers or community members living near a PFOA facility.
Epidemiology Studies Show PFAS Causes Cancer and Other Diseases
Epidemiologists have found PFAS exposure causes a wide variety of adverse health consequences. Animal studies show that PFOA and PFOS causes cancer in the liver, testes, pancreas, and thyroid. Consistently, human epidemiology studies report associations between PFOA exposure and high cholesterol, increased liver enzymes, decreased vaccination response, thyroid disorders, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, and cancer. For PFOS, epidemiological studies have reported associations between PFOS exposure and high serum cholesterol and reproductive and developmental parameters.
Summary of PFAS Adverse Health Effects
In sum, these results and related epidemiological studies confirm the human health risks of PFOS, especially for exposure via food and drinking water. Additionally, the EPA and other government agencies conclude that PFAS threatens public health and causes cancer. Because public health research is still ongoing worldwide, more findings appear nearly every day.