Middle-aged women with higher blood levels of synthetic chemicals called PFAS may face a greater risk of developing high blood pressure than women with lower blood levels of the substances, according to a study in the June 13, 2022, issue of Hypertension.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are found in everyday household items, including certain shampoos, cosmetics, nonstick cookware, and stain-resistant coatings. Because they resist breakdown both in the environment and in our bodies, they're known as "forever" chemicals.
Researchers measured PFAS levels in the blood of more than 1,000 middle-aged women who had normal blood pressure when the study began and checked them almost annually for 18 years. Women with the highest blood concentrations of seven different PFAS had a 71% higher risk of developing high blood pressure compared with women who had the lowest concentrations.
Two of the most common PFAS are found in household drinking water and are consumed by more than two-thirds of Americans, the study authors point out. The chemicals have been linked to cardiovascular problems, including impaired blood vessel function and elevated cholesterol levels.
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