‘Forever Chemicals’ Linked To Weight Gain, Making Dieting Harder, Study Finds | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is John Rigolizzo.

    So-called "forever chemicals" in drinking water are contributing to obesity and making weight loss harder, a new study finds.

    The study, lead by Dr. Philippe Grandjean of the University of Rhode Island School of Pharmacy, found that increased concentrations of Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, caused weight gain after an initial diet. The study noted that PFAS may have a larger role to play in weight loss struggles because of how ubiquitous they are in everyday life.

    "Obesity has a multifactorial origin, and the impact of dietary constituents has been examined in several weight loss interventions," the authors began. "[S]tudy results have shown substantial variability that may suggest an impact of other factors. In particular, the pathogenesis of obesity may be affected by exposure to certain environmental toxicants, such as the perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs). Experimental toxicology studies have supported this notion, as PFASs can alter energy metabolism, glucose control, and thyroid hormone homeostasis. Prospective studies have shown that elevated PFAS exposures are associated with weight gain and obesity development in children, as well as in adults."

    The study built upon data from previous weight loss studies in Europe. Researchers examined blood plasma samples from patients in that study, and found that higher concentrations of PFAS led to weight gains between 0.2 and 0.7 kilograms (about 0.5 to 1.5 pounds). The study also measured how individual pollutants contributed to weight gain: higher levels of the chemical perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) caused an average weight gain of 0.9 kg (about 2 pounds); higher levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) caused an average weight gain of nearly 1.5 kg (about 3.5 pounds).

    The study cited previous research linking air pollutants and industrial chemicals to weight gain; PFAS are among the most persistent and active substances among them; they are widely present in the environment and consistently found in human blood. "The ubiquity of PFASs is linked to their extensive use in industrial and consumer products, including food packaging, paper and textile coatings, nonstick cookware, and fire-extinguishing foams," the researchers noted. "Because of differences in sources and in toxicokinetic fate, PFAS exposures seem not to correlate well with other potential obesogens, thus making confounding less likely."

    "Our study adds new evidence that being overweight isn't just about a lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits - PFAS are increasingly suspected to be a contributing factor," Grandjean told medicalxpress.com. "The PFAS exposures in the European participants are quite comparable to levels in America, so my concern is that our exposures to PFAS are making it difficult for us to avoid getting overweight."

    PFAS are getting renewed scrutiny after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dramatically scaled back the levels it considers acceptable in drinking water, leading to more awareness about how dangerous exposure to these compounds truly is.

    "We've actually poisoned the world with them," Andria Ventura, legislative and policy director at Clean Water Action/Clean Water Fund, told The Daily Wire.


    PFAS chemicals enter our bodies via the food we eat and the water we drink, then return to the environment through human waste, forming a potentially dangerous cycle of human and environmental contamination. One way they go back into the environment is through fertilizer made from sewage.

    The chemicals have been linked to an array of cancers, hypertension, low birth rates, and issues with immunity, such as the ability of children to be helped by vaccines. The EPA recently decided they were so dangerous that it lowered the acceptable levels from 70 parts per trillion to as little as 0.004 parts per trillion, a drop of more than 99.9%.

    Charlotte Pence Bond contributed to this report.
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