Forever chemicals are associated with hypertension in middle-aged women

Highlights of the study:

  • In a large, prospective study, levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS), a common man-made chemical found in water, soil, air, and food, were associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure among middle-aged people. women.

  • The study showed that at a maximum concentration of one-third of all seven PFASs, the risk of developing high blood pressure in women increased by 71%.

Embargo 4:00 CT / 5am ET, Monday, June 13, 2022

(NewMediaWire) – June 13, 2022 – DALLAS Concentrations of synthetic chemicals in the blood of middle-aged women, called per- and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS), also known as persistent chemicals, found in water, soil, air, and food was higher. According to a new study published today, the risk of developing high blood pressure compared to their peers with low levels of these substances HypertensionJournal of the American Heart Association.

According to PFAS, a class of synthetic chemicals and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are thousands of different PFASs used in everyday household items, such as certain shampoos, dental floss, cosmetics, non-stick containers, food packaging, stains and carpets. , permanent coatings for coverings and clothing. Perpetual chemicals enter the food system through fish caught in PFAS-contaminated water and, for example, dairy products from cows exposed to PFAS through farm fertilizers.

Although low in blood, studies have shown that PFAS can be harmful to health. Some PFAS are associated with cardiovascular risk, including endothelial dysfunction (vascular dysfunction), oxidative stress, and elevated cholesterol. However, no previous studies have evaluated whether PFAS levels affect blood pressure control in middle-aged women.

Previously published data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) show how widespread the effects of PFAS are because almost all Americans have at least one PFAS-determined concentration in their blood.

PFAS are known as perpetual chemicals because they never break down in the environment and do not pollute drinking water, soil, air, food and many of the products we consume or encounter on a daily basis. One study found that two of the most common perpetual chemicals are found in most household drinking water and are consumed by more than two-thirds of Americans, said Ning Ding, Ph.D., MPH, post-doctoral student, the study’s lead author. Department of Epidemiology, Anne Arbor School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Michigan.

Women are especially vulnerable when exposed to these chemicals, he said. Our study is the first to examine the link between persistent chemicals and hypertension in middle-aged women. Exposure may be an underestimated risk factor for the risk of cardiovascular disease in women.

Using data from a women’s health study in the Nation-Multi-Pollutant Study (SWAN-MPS), a prospective study of women of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, the researchers studied known PFAS blood concentrations and the risk of high blood pressure. . More than 1,000 women aged 45 to 56 who took part in the study had normal blood pressure. PFAS levels in the blood were measured at the beginning of the study. All participants were monitored almost annually from 1999-2017. Participants were recruited from five institutional sites (Boston; Pittsburgh; Southeast Michigan; Los Angeles; and Auckland, California) and identified themselves as black (15.2%), Chinese (14.1%), and Japanese (16.2%). ). or white women (54.5%). In addition to all racial / ethnic groups, non-Hispanic white women were registered on all sites.

Analysis found:

  • For all participants in the study, 470 women had high blood pressure during the 11,722 annual follow-up surveys.

  • Women with known high concentrations of PFAS had higher blood pressure: women with high concentrations of perfluorothane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluoroctanoic acid (PFOA) and 2- (N-ethyl-perfluorotone sulfonamides) had high blood pressure. Acid (EtFOSAA, precursor PFOS) had a risk of developing high blood pressure of 42%, 47% and 42%, respectively, compared with women who concentrated in the lower third of these PFAS.

  • Women in the top third of all seven PFAS concentrations had a 71% increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

Notably, we studied multiple PFASs with individual PFASs and found that co-exposure with multiple PFASs had a stronger effect on blood pressure, says senior author Sung Kyung Park, Sc.D., MPH, School of Public Health, University of Michigan Epidemiology. and Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences. Some states have banned the use of PFAS in food packaging, cosmetics and personal hygiene products. Our findings clearly indicate the need to develop strategies to limit the widespread use of PFAS in products. Switching to alternatives can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure in middle-aged women.

We have known for some time that PFAS disrupts the body’s metabolism, but we did not expect the strength of the association we found. These findings warn clinicians of the importance of PFAS and hope that they should understand and recognize PFAS as an important potential risk factor for blood pressure control, Park said.

Because the study included only middle-aged women, the results could not be translated into men or younger or older women. The authors note that more research is needed to validate these associations and address ways to reduce the impact of PFAS.

Co-authors: Carrie A. Carvonen-Gutierrez, Ph.D, MPH; Bhramar Mukherjee, Candidate of Medical Sciences; Antonia M. Calafat, Candidate of Medical Sciences; and Siobn D. Harlow, Ph.D. The manuscript contains statements by the authors.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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