Middle-aged women with higher blood concentrations of common synthetic chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also called "forever chemicals" and found in water, soil, air and food, were at higher risk of developing high blood pressure, compared to their peers who had lower

There are thousands of different types of PFAS that are used in everyday household items. The "forever chemicals" enter the food system through fish caught in contaminated water and dairy products from cows exposed to PFAS.

It has been shown that the health effects of PFAS can be found even at low levels in the blood. Some PFCs have been linked to cardiovascular risk. Middle-aged women with higher levels of PFAS may have a harder time controlling their blood pressure.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) shows that nearly all Americans have at least one trace of the harmful substance in their blood.

"PFAS are known as 'forever chemicals' because they never degrade in the environment and taint drinking water, soil, air, food and numerous products we consume or encounter frequently." Two of the most common 'forever chemicals' are found in most household drinking water and are consumed by more than two-thirds of Americans according to a study.

She said that women seem to be particularly vulnerable. The association between 'forever chemicals' and hypertension is the first to be examined in our study. Women's cardiovascular disease risk may be underestimated due to exposure.

The risk of high blood pressure was examined using data from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation- Multi-Pollutant Study. More than 1,000 women were included in the data when they were in the study. At the beginning of the study, blood concentrations were measured. All participants were tracked over the course of a decade. Black, Chinese, Japanese, and white women made up the majority of the participants recruited from five institutions across the U.S. Non- Hispanic white women are included in all sites.

There was an analysis found.

  • During 11,722 person-years of follow-up for all study participants, 470 women developed high blood pressure.
  • Women with higher concentrations of specific PFAS were more likely to develop high blood pressure: women in the highest one-third concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and 2-(N-ethyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamido) acetic acid (EtFOSAA, a PFOS precursor) had 42%, 47% and 42% higher risks, respectively, of developing high blood pressure, compared to women in the lowest one-third concentrations of these PFAS.
  • Women in the highest one-third concentrations of all seven PFAS examined had a 71% increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

The study found that exposure to multiple PFAS had a stronger effect on blood pressure. There are some states that are banning the use of PFAS in food packaging. Strategies to limit the widespread use of PFAS need to be developed, according to our findings. It's possible to reduce the incidence of high blood pressure in midlife women.

We didn't expect the strength of the association we found to be so strong. Park hopes that the findings alert clinicians to the importance of PFAS and that they need to understand and recognize the risk factor for blood pressure control.

The study was limited because it only included middle-aged women. The authors note that more research is needed to confirm the associations.

The study was funded by a federal agency.

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The materials come from the American Heart Association. The content can be edited for style and length.