Chemicals in Products from Cookware to Carpet Said to Increase the Disease in Women

A new study suggests that a commonly found chemical called PFCs could be increasing osteoarthritis in women. The study, which was published in the February 14th online issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, suggests that the greater a woman’s exposure to PFCs, the greater the risk for developing osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis, causing pain and stiffness and the degeneration of the cartilage in the joints. According to the study, the osteoarthritis-PFC connection appeared to be stronger among younger women (between 20 and 49) than among older women (between 50 and 84). Researchers did not find a similar risk among men regarding these chemicals.

While the biological reasons behind the possible connection between PFCs and osteoarthritis remain unclear, researchers suggested that the chemicals might have an impact on hormonal balances in women. It should be noted that the study’s authors identified a robust link between osteoarthritis and exposure to the PFC chemicals — known as PFOA and PFOS, thus the finding can only be described as an œassociation, not a cause-and-effect relationship. PFCs can be found in household products like non-stick cookware and carpeting, as well as in to-go containers, waterproofed rain gear and textile stain protection.

Unfortunately, once PFCs get in the human body, they last for years. Even if we were to reduce the use of these chemicals right away, they’re still going to be around and in our bodies for a long time,” said the study’s lead author Sarah Uhl, who conducted the study while working as a researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in New Haven, Connecticut. “Not being exposed is not an option. But as consumers, I would say that one of the best things to do is to lead a healthy lifestyle, and get exercise and eat well. Because we’re finding that those steps can reduce susceptibility to factors that are outside our control.”

Past research has linked PFC exposure to other health ailments such as a higher risk for premature menopause in women and higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol in men and women.

 

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