Chemical in Household Products May Be Linked to Heart Disease: Study

TUESDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to a chemical used in some common household products may be associated with heart troubles and peripheral artery disease, a new study suggests.

The chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) -- which is widely used to make products such as food packaging, paper and textile coatings, polishes and lubricants -- is detectable in the blood of more than 98 percent of people in the United States, according to previous research.

In this study, a team at the West Virginia University School of Public Health looked at data from more than 1,200 people and found that increasing blood levels of PFOA were associated with the presence of heart and artery disease.

This association appeared to be independent of other disease risk factors such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking, body-mass index, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The study was published online Sept. 3 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"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 [cardiovascular and peripheral artery disease]. However, owing to the cross-sectional nature of the present study, we cannot conclude that the association is causal," wrote Dr. Anoop Shankar and colleagues.

Further research is needed to confirm or disprove the findings, they added. While the study found an association between PFOA exposure and vascular diseases, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

Cardiovascular disease is a major health problem in the United States and identifying new risk factors for the disease, including exposures to chemicals, is important, the researchers noted.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about heart and vascular disease.

SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, news release, Sept. 3, 2012

Related Articles

Learn More About Sharp
Sharp HealthCare is San Diego's health care leader with seven hospitals, two medical groups and a health plan. Learn more about our San Diego hospitals, choose a Sharp-affiliated San Diego doctor or browse our comprehensive medical services.

Health News is provided as a service to Sharp Web site users by HealthDay. Sharp HealthCare nor its employees, agents, or contractors, review, control, or take responsibility for the content of these articles. Please read the Terms of Use for more information.