From Mount Everest to your liver: The alarming reach of 'forever chemicals' in our environment and health

By Hugo Francisco de Souza | News Medical | October 26, 2023

Read the full article by Hugo Francisco de Souza (News Medical)

"In a recent review published in the journal Science of The Total Environmentresearchers collate and discuss available literature on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). They highlight PFAS sources in the environment, compare PFAS exposure risk amongst different age groups, and elucidate epidemiological studies on these substances' hepatotoxicity in vitro and in vivo. They finally point out the current gaps in PFAS research and provide suggestions for bridging these gaps in future studies.

What are PFAS and where do we find them?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are highly persistent synthetic chemicals comprising more than 4,700 fluorinated substances. PFAS are durable, heat-resistant, and grease- and water-repellent, resulting in their extensive application in the consumer sector.

The global footprint of PFAS

Despite being artificial and not found naturally in the environment, their near-ubiquitous incorporation in food packaging, fire-repellent foam, waterproofing material, paints, pesticides, and even cosmetics has resulted in PFAS being found from the peak of Mount Everest to the bottom of ocean trenches. Global studies have found PFAS in the tropics, the Arctic and Antarctic Poles, and everywhere in between."