High blood levels of a man-made chemical used in non-stick coatings were associated with a raised risk of arthritis in a large new study of adults exposed to tainted drinking water.
Researchers found that people with the highest levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in their blood were up to 40 percent more likely to develop arthritis than people with lower blood levels more typical of the general U.S. population.
Dr. Kim Innes of the School of Medicine at West Virginia University and colleagues used data on nearly 50,000 adults living in areas of Ohio and West Virginia where a chemical plant had contaminated water supplies with PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), both chemicals widely used in non-stick and stain-resistant coatings.
Both chemicals are “persistent organic pollutants,” meaning they remain in the environment and in the human body for years. Both have also been shown to affect human and animal immune systems and metabolism, including functions such as inflammation that are linked with arthritis.
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