Toxic PFAS chemicals were detected in every umbilical cord blood sample across 40 studies conducted over the last five years, a new review of scientific literature from around the world has found.
The studies collectively examined nearly 30,000 samples, and many linked fetal PFAS exposure to health complications in unborn babies, young children and later in life. The studies’ findings are “disturbing”, said Uloma Uche, an environmental health science fellow with the Environmental Working Group, which analyzed the peer-reviewed studies’ data.
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 12,000 chemicals commonly used to make products resist water, stains and heat. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down, and accumulate in human bodies and the environment.
The federal government estimates that they are found in 98% of Americans’ blood. The chemicals are linked to birth defects, cancer, kidney disease, liver problems and other health issues, and the EPA recently found effectively no level of exposure to some kinds of PFAS in water is safe.