Prenatal Exposure to PFAS Linked to Childhood Obesity in New Study

Among the myriad health problems linked to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in firefighter foam and other consumer products, as well as contaminated drinking water supplies nationwide, the so-called “forever chemicals” may also increase the risk of childhood obesity. According to the findings of a new study conducted by researchers from Brown University, children born to women who were exposed to higher levels of PFAS while pregnant are more likely to have a higher childhood body mass index (BMI). They are also more likely to be overweight or obese, which could have a negative impact on their long-term health. If you believe your child has suffered adverse health effects from exposure to PFAS in firefighter foam or tainted drinking water, contact Consumer Safety Watch right away to find out how we can help.

PFAS Linked to Cancer, Other Adverse Health Effects

The term “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances” encompasses more than 9,000 manmade chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since about the 1950s. PFAS are used to keep food from sticking to cookware or packaging, to improve the stain-resistance of clothing and carpets, and to produce firefighting foam that is more effective at extinguishing flammable liquid fires. Given the extensive use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) across the United States over the past several decades, serious concerns have been raised recently about the long-term effects of exposure to PFAS that have leaked into the soil, air, and drinking water. Because these forever chemicals break down very slowly, if at all, people are repeatedly exposed to them, and they can build up in the blood over time. Among the serious adverse side effects that may be tied to toxic PFAS exposure are:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Fertility problems

The findings of this new study raise new concerns about the possibility of prenatal PFAS exposure causing serious long-term health problems for children and adolescents exposed to the harmful chemicals during pregnancy. “In eight U.S.-based prospective cohorts, gestational exposure to higher levels of PFAS were associated with slightly higher childhood BMI z-score and risk of overweight or obesity,” the study authors wrote. According to their research, which included data from 1,391 mother-child pairs who participated in eight U.S. cohort studies between 1999 and 2019, higher PFAS concentrations in the mother’s plasma or serum in pregnancy were associated with higher BMI scores and a greater risk of overweight/obesity in the child. 

How Does PFAS Exposure Occur?

Any number of PFAS-containing products, including food containers, pizza boxes, popcorn bags, and nonstick cookware, can increase a person’s risk of toxic exposure to these chemicals. However, the leading cause of PFAS contamination in drinking water sources across the United States is the use of firefighting foam in fire-suppression activities. Commonly used by military and civilian firefighters during routine training exercises and in response to difficult-to-suppress fires, AFFF can quickly disburse thousands of gallons of PFAS on the ground, where it can easily contaminate the soil, groundwater, and drinking water. And because they do not break down naturally, PFAS can persist in the environment and the human body, leading to serious health problems, including cancer. 

Find Out Whether You Qualify to File an AFFF Lawsuit

In response to growing awareness about the negative health effects of exposure to PFAS, manufacturers of PFAS and AFFF have been hit with thousands of firefighter foam cancer lawsuits and PFAS water contamination lawsuits filed in courts across the country. If you or someone you love has suffered from cancer, infertility, obesity, or any other health problem you believe may be linked to toxic PFAS exposure, do not hesitate to speak to a PFAS injury attorney about your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, which you can pursue by filing an AFFF lawsuit against the manufacturer or manufacturers. Call us today for help.

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