Exposure to PFAS disrupts folliculogenesis, the ovarian follicle maturation process
A study from the medical journal Human Reproduction Update found that PFAS, if present in a high level in the blood, can lower the ovarian reserve and reduce hormone synthesis by:
- disrupting intercellular communication
- inducing thyroid hormone deficiency
- antagonizing ovarian enzyme activities
Multiple observational studies determined that PFAS exposure may delay menarche, cause early menopause, disrupt menstrual cycle regularity, and result in premature ovarian insufficiency. Folliculogenesis, the maturation of the ovarian follicle, occurs in the ovary, and the ovary is also the main site of sex hormone steroidogenesis, the synthesis of steroid hormones from cholesterol. Moreover, numerous experimental studies have shown that PFAS exposure is correlated with the depletion of ovarian reserve, which represents the number of ovarian follicles and eggs.
Nevertheless, ovarian folliculogenesis and steroidogenesis are essential processes for normal reproductive health, and more and more evidence suggests that PFAS exposure may impact some essential aspects of these processes, such as:
- cause disruptions in steroid hormone levels
- accelerate ovarian aging
- cause excessive oxidative stress
- delay the onset of menarche
- cause polycystic ovarian syndrome
- lead to thyroid hormone disruption
- cause a loss of signaling in the hypothalamus
- impair ovarian follicle formation
According to the American Cancer Society, there is a possible link between PFAS exposure from AFFF and ovarian cancer risk. Furthermore, a recent study from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that the existence of significant PFAS concentrations in the blood reduces the effect of carboplatin, a chemotherapy drug used to treat ovarian cancer. More specifically, researchers discovered that some chemicals from the PFAS group induce resistance to carboplatin in ovarian cancer cell lines.
Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic malignancy, with a mortality rate of up to 65%. A major factor contributing to the high lethality of this cancer is the resistance it has to therapy, especially to platinum-based drugs such as carboplatin. Since PFAS reduce the effectiveness of treatment with this medication, women with ovarian cancer who also have a high blood level of these substances, such as firefighters, are more likely to have a very poor survival rate. For this reason, firefighters who were unfortunate enough to develop ovarian cancer as a consequence of frequent AFFF exposure must seek the assistance of a very experienced medical specialist who is up to date with studies like this, as otherwise, their cancer treatment might be ineffective.
If you were a military firefighter, you should pay even more attention to your health
While both civilian and military firefighters are at great risk of developing ovarian cancer, the latter have a slightly higher chance, as their AFFF use occurred more often. Devised in 1966, this fire suppressant contains between 50% and 98% PFAS, which makes it extremely dangerous to human health. It is employed to put out fires stemming from flammable liquids and gases, which were more prevalent on military bases. Consequently, women who worked as military firefighters are now more prone to developing ovarian cancer and other serious diseases due to PFAS exposure from AFFF use during active duty.
Just 11% of all firefighters in the country are women at the moment. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are currently 89,600 female career firefighters out of the 1,041,200. Still, the history of women in the firefighting career dates back nearly two centuries. During World War II, they served in the wartime fire services, many of whom were in frontline roles. AFFF is used so often within the military because flammable liquids and gases are more common in these places, and they include:
- organic solvents
- jet fuel
- cleaning solvents
- oil-based paints
- diesel fuel
However, it is very important to acknowledge that, at the end of the day, civilian and military firefighters both have a higher risk of ovarian cancer than the general population, which is why our attorneys and legal team are ready to assist you if you developed this awful disease. To determine whether you are eligible to file a claim for AFFF exposure, you only have to give our law firm a call, and we will gladly help you navigate the process, which we made as simple as possible for our clients.
The diseases ovarian cancer may be misdiagnosed as in female firefighters
Because the misdiagnosis rate is very high among toxic exposure victims, who include firefighters that used AFFF on the job, it is crucial to make sure you have the correct diagnosis before seeking legal recourse. Having the right diagnosis is important not only for the treatment you will receive but also for your financial compensation eligibility if you intend to file a claim for AFFF exposure. Therefore, you should look for the opinion of more than one medical specialist, as ovarian cancer can mimic the symptoms of many other diseases and conditions that are very different from it, such as:
- irritable bowel syndrome
- premenstrual syndrome
- uterine fibroids
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- urinary tract infections
- colon cancer
If you have a history of occupational AFFF exposure and experience the symptoms of ovarian cancer but received one of the diagnoses above, please seek another opinion from a medical specialist, as chances are you have, in fact, ovarian cancer. Our resourceful attorneys will do all in their power to obtain the maximum compensation for you if you meet the eligibility requirements.