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WVU study ties C8 to kidney disease

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- People with C8 in their blood face a greater risk of having chronic kidney diseases, according to the latest in a series of West Virginia University studies on the toxic chemical.

 

The study found that people with higher levels of C8 in their blood were 82 percent more likely to have chronic kidney disease, or CKD, that could lead to and be a risk factor for more serious illnesses.

Results of the study are especially worrisome, scientists said, because they found an association between kidney disease and C8 exposure at levels of the chemical similar to those found in the general U.S. population.

Study author Anoop Shankar and colleagues examined data for more than 4,500 adults from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, or NHANES, and found the associations for C8 and another perfluorocarbon, or PFC, known as PFOS.

"Our results contribute to the emerging data on the health effects of PFCs, suggesting for the first time that PFOA and PFOS are potentially related to CKD," said the study, published by the peer-reviewed American Journal of Epidemiology. "Our findings are of public health importance because serum PFCs appear to be positively related to kidney disease even at relatively low background exposure levels in the U.S. general population."

Scientists found that the ties between C8 and kidney disease were independent of possible other factors, such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol levels. One caution is that the NHANES data, because it measures C8 levels in blood and CKD at the same time, it cannot tell us which came first - the chemical exposure or the kidney disease.

C8 is another name for perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. In West Virginia, DuPont Co. has used C8 since the 1950s as a processing agent to make Teflon and other nonstick products, oil-resistant paper packaging and stain-resistant textiles.

DuPont and other companies have reduced their emissions and agreed to a voluntary phase-out of the chemical, but researchers remain concerned about a growing list of possible health effects and about the chemical's presence in consumer products, as well as continued pollution from waste disposal practices.

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kward@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.


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