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Forever Chemicals Can Enter and Accumulate In the Brain

The toxic chemicals PFAS, commonly referred to as "forever chemicals" (due to their buildup and persistence in people and the environment) are in the news again. Once again, it's bad news. This time, researchers found that PFAS chemicals travel through the blood, and enter and accumulate in the human brain.

And not just the original PFAS chemicals (e.g., used in Teflon, Scotchgard), but even their replacements accumulate in the brain.

PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are called forever chemicals due to their buildup and persistence in people and the environment. They are in all of us at varying levels, and they have harmful health effects. Effects include cancer, reproductive harm (e.g., poorer semen quality), birth defects, lowered sex and growth hormones in children, thyroid disease, immune effects, and liver and kidney damage. They are endocrine disruptors.

The chemical industry would have you think that the newer PFAS chemicals that replace the older ones are "safer", but guess what? They're not. They're very similar chemically, so it shouldn't be surprising that they don't appear to be safer.

Bottom line: You can't totally avoid PFAS chemicals, but you can lower your exposure to them. If possible, avoid products that are water and stain proof or leak-proof, especially if children will be using the product. Don't use nonstick cookware, stain resistant carpeting and fabrics, clothing treated to be water-proof, and synthetic turf. PFAS don't have to be mentioned on labels, so it's buyer beware.

From Environmental Health News: PFAS can enter and accumulate in the brain, study confirms

A new study published in Environment International examines the ability of PFAS - a class of hazardous chemicals with known neurotoxic effects - to bypass the body’s protective barriers and enter into brain tissue.

In short:

Both traditional PFAS and their newer substitutes are transported throughout the body via blood and can cross into the brain.

All blood and tissue samples contained PFAS, and a mixture of seven different PFAS was found in over 60% of the blood samples taken from people with brain tumors.

Newer substitute PFAS may have an even greater potential for accumulating in the brain than PFOA and PFOS because of their molecular structure.

Key quote: “These findings underscore the significance of reducing and/or controlling exposure to PFAS in our daily life, as they have the potential to impact various organs.”

Why this matters:

PFAS are used in everyday products, and exposure to them is widespread - analyses from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey have found that PFAS are detectable in the blood of 97% - 100% of US individuals. While some forms of PFAS like PFOA and PFOS are subject to regulation, their use has been replaced by other PFAS that likely have similar health risks. This study points to the need to address widespread exposure to newer, untested chemical substitutes that are not covered by current regulatory structures.

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