PFAS exposure and multimorbidity

Treven Pyles

By Treven Pyles

Posted on August 16th, 2023

Exposure to PFAS might promote the development of multiple chronic diseases, which is known as multimorbidity. These chemicals are associated with health outcomes ranging from high cholesterol to cancer. PFAS exposure has a connection with a wide range of chronic diseases and also with multimorbidity.

A recent study from the medical journal Environmental Epidemiology found that PFAS exposure is associated with multimorbidity, the occurrence of multiple chronic diseases at the same time. The researchers used data from the unregulated contaminant monitoring rule 3 to estimate PFAS exposure for a sample of 10,168 patients from the University of North Carolina Healthcare System. The existence of 16 chronic diseases was determined via their electronic health records. There were four PFAS found in water systems serving at least one zip code represented in our patient data, specifically:

  • PFOA
  • PFHpA
  • PFOS
  • PFHxS

Exposure to any PFAS was associated with an odds ratio of 1.25 for multimorbidity, and among the chronic diseases with 300 cases or more, the researchers observed associations with dyslipidemia, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and osteoporosis. This was the first study to use multimorbidity as an outcome for the health effects of PFAS exposure. Monitoring for PFAS was performed in all public water systems serving over 10,000 people, as well as a representative sample of public water systems serving 10,000 or fewer individuals.

There were 10,168 individuals in their final study cohort. Of these individuals, 4,228 resided in a zip code served by a public water system that tested positive for at least one PFAS. There were 2,966 study participants residing in a zip code that tested positive for PFOA and 2,096 for PFHpA. The study cohort had a mean age of 55, was 61.2% female, and 22.9% identified as Black or African American. There were 6,442 participants who were not diagnosed with any of the 16 chronic diseases examined and 2,242 who had two or more chronic diseases.

The researchers observed significant associations between the presence of any PFAS in a water system serving a zip code and multimorbidity. In fact, the existence of any PFAS in drinking water was associated with a 25% higher prevalence of multimorbidity. Furthermore, they observed associations between multimorbidity and the two most prevalent PFAS, PFOA and PFHpA, with associations stronger for the former than the latter.

Associations between multimorbidity and PFOA and PFHpA were similar among both men and women. When it came to race, associations with multimorbidity were stronger among white participants than Black participants. Finally, as for income, associations with multimorbidity were similar for any PFAS and for PFOA specifically, but multimorbidity associations with PFHpA were considerably stronger among participants residing in lower-income areas as compared with those residing in higher-income areas.

If your drinking water supply contains PFAS above the maximum limit, you might be entitled to financial compensation, which will cover the cost of testing, remediation, and treatment. Our diligent attorneys will offer you a free case evaluation to find out whether you are eligible to join the PFAS water contamination lawsuit. The legal process is simple and requires minimal involvement from you and your community.

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With over 30 years of experience in toxic exposure cases, our attorneys and legal team are ready to provide you with the assistance you need if your drinking water supply is contaminated with PFAS. To find out if you are eligible to join the PFAS water contamination lawsuit, we encourage you to get in touch with our law firm. We will carefully and thoroughly assess your case to determine whether you qualify to join the lawsuit and receive compensation to remove these chemicals from the drinking water of your community. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis, so you will not have to pay anything unless we are successful in obtaining money for you.