‘Forever chemicals’ found in everyday products increase liver cancer risk, warns study

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Liver cancer incidence rates are projected to rise by 38% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, warns Cancer Research UK.

In fact, one study found death from liver cancers have almost tripled in the past 20 years here in the UK.

The cause for the disease is said to be because of either birth defects, alcohol abuse, chronic infection with diseases such as hepatitis B and C, or cirrhosis.

A new study finds everyday items could be a possible cause in the sudden rise of cases.

According to the research, an artificial chemical known as the “forever chemical” due to its ability to linger longer than needed has been associated with increased liver cancer risk.

Liver cancer symptoms

Liver cancer early signs include loss of appetite, upper abdominal pain, nausea, swelling, jaundice or white chalky stools, but what is the connection to a chemical?

A new study has made a worrying connection between a synthetic chemical found in a wide variety of products and liver cancer.

Researchers found that exposure to this chemical affected non-viral hepatocellular carcinoma – the most common type of liver cancer.

Previous research also found the cancer connection but the studies were done on animals.

This is the first study to confirm an association using human samples.

What is PFOS?
Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC published the results in JHEP Reports, listing the chemical known as perfluooctane sulfate, or PFOS, as a danger.

PFOS is one class of man-made chemicals used in a wide range of consumer and industrial products.

They are sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their long lifespan, which means they can accumulate in the environment and human tissue, most notably the liver, before breaking down.

The research team came to this finding after studying human blood and tissue samples.

Sample analysis were then compared between 50 participants who eventually developed liver cancer to 50 people who did not develop cancer from the same study.

Researchers found several types of PFAS in the blood samples that were taken before the participant developed liver cancer.

The research revealed that the strongest association was between PFOS and liver cancer, and that subjects in the top 10% of PFOS exposure were 4.5 times more likely to develop liver cancer compared with those with the lowest levels of PFOS in their blood.

PFAS are a class of man-made chemicals, not found naturally in the environment.

PFOS are the two PFAS that have been the most extensively produced and therefore are the most studied of these chemicals.

Everyday products using PFOS
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, products containing PFOS include:

Some grease-resistant paper, fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and candy wrappers.
Stain resistant coatings used on carpets, upholstery, and other fabrics.
Water-resistant clothing.
Cleaning products.
Personal care products (shampoo, dental floss) and cosmetics (nail polish, eye makeup).
Paints, varnishes, and sealants.