A study at Boston University School of Health links higher blood levels of polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs) with increased odds of ADHD. Flourinated chemicals are used in products to repel oil and water and resist staining. They are used as emulsifiers and on surfaces in food packaging (like plastic wrap), furniture, carpet, clothing, nonstick pans, and personal care products.
PFCs levels have been detected worldwide in the bodies of children and adults as well as newborns, not to mention wildlife. Unfortunately, these chemicals do not break down readily in the environment.
Very little is known about the full impact of exposure to these chemicals. Exposure to PFCs has been linked to elevated cholesterol, low birth weight, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, and immune dysfunction.
In this study, researchers focused on U.S. children aged 12 – 15. They suggest that given the “extremely prevalent exposure to PFCs,” additional studies should be conducted on PFCs effect on ADHD and other neurodevelopmental conditions.
What can you do to avoid PFCs?
The Environmental Working Group recommends you:
- Avoid coated cookware and utensils
- Cut back on greasy packaged and fast foods as the wrappers are often treated
- Don’t purchase carpets or furniture that has been treated with stain resistant chemicals
- Don’t allow carpet/upholstery cleaner staff to apply stain resistant products
- Don’t use microwave popcorn, as the liner usually has PFCs
- Select natural personal care products that do not have PTFC or “perfluoro” on the label
A full report of the Boston University School of Public Health study, Exposure to Polyfluoroalkyl Chemicals and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in U.S. Children 12–15 Years of Age is available at no charge online: Environmental Health Perspectives (December 2010)