Sustained Outrage

Study suggests C8 link to cardiovascular disease

There’s a new study out this week from West Virginia University researchers that concludes exposure to C8 is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, or CVD, and peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. According to a news release:

Anoop Shankar, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the West Virginia University School of Public Health, Morgantown, examined the association between serum (blood) levels of PFOA and the presence of CVD and PAD, a marker of atherosclerosis, in a nationally representative group of adults. The study used merged data from the 1999-2000 and 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

The study suggests that increasing serum PFOA levels were positively associated with the presence of CVD and PAD, and the association appeared to be independent of confounders such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking status, body mass index, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and serum cholesterol level, the authors comment.

“Our results contribute to the emerging data on health effects of PFCs [perfluoroalkyl chemicals], suggesting for the first time that PFOA exposure is potentially related to CVD and PAD. However, owing to the cross-sectional nature of the present study, we cannot conclude that the association is causal,” the authors comment.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine, is available online (through a subscription only site) here.   Readers who are following C8 issues may recall that the C8 Science Panel has issued a report concluding that there is no “probable link” between C8 exposure and stroke, but that the Science Panel’s findings about heart disease are not due out now until sometime next month.

In a commentary also published in the journal, Dr. Debabrata Mukherjee of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, writes:

These results contribute to the evolving data on the adverse health effects of PFOA, suggesting that PFOA exposure may be potentially related to CVD.  However, a major limitation is the cross-sectional nature of the study. Given this significant limitation, causality or the temporal nature of the association between PFOA and CVD cannot be concluded from the current analysis.  Although it seems clear that additional prospective research is needed to tease out the true adverse cardiovascular effects of PFOA, given the concerns raised by this and prior studies, clinicians will need to act now. From a societal point of view, it would make sense to limit or to eliminate the use of PFOA and its congeners in industry through legislation and regulation while improving water purification and treatment techniques to try and remove this potentially toxic chemical from our water supply.