CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Children and teens exposed to higher amounts of the toxic chemical C8 appear to be more likely to have elevated cholesterol levels, according to a landmark new study published by researchers from West Virginia University.
The study also found that some increases in cholesterol may occur at exposure levels in the range of those found in the general U.S. population.
Stephanie Frisbee, a WVU Department of Community Medicine researcher and lead study author, said the findings are particularly important because of the potential effects higher cholesterol could have during a child's lifetime.
"The issue becomes important because of the cumulative effect of that level of elevated cholesterol over a 30-year-period," Frisbee said in an interview last week.
The study is being published in this month's edition of the peer-reviewed journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. It partly includes data that was previously made public by WVU's C8 Health Project and by the C8 Science Panel, but is also a more detailed and refined analysis of that information.
C8 is another name for ammonium perfluorooctanoate, or PFOA.
DuPont Co. has used the chemical since the 1950s at its Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg. C8 is a processing agent used to make Teflon and other nonstick products, oil-resistant packaging and stain-resistant textiles. While industry has promised to phase out C8 and some related chemicals, scientists are still concerned that exposures continue from chemicals already emitted and distributed in a wide range of consumer products.
Researchers are finding that people around the world have C8 in their blood in low levels. Evidence is mounting about the chemical's dangerous effects, but regulators have not set a federal standard for its safety.