Commenting on the study, Dr. Joseph Guettler, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., suggested that PFC exposure should be put in context as one of a wide number of variables that can potentially drive osteoarthritis risk.
"There's genetics, weight and obesity, and previous injuries," he noted. "There are some people who are biomechanically built in a certain way that predisposes them. And then others with certain [jobs] who put a lot of wear and tear on their body," Guettler pointed out.
"And now this study seems to add an environmental factor, PFCs, to the list of traditional risk factors," he continued.
"The fact that they didn't find this association among men surprises me," Guettler added. "They hypothesize that this may be due to hormonal differences, but I would expect that the main mechanism for PFCs influencing osteoarthritis would be through their effect on the inflammatory process. Because PFCs have been linked to inflammation, and we are well aware that inflammation has a significant negative impact on cartilage. So there definitely needs to be more research."
For more on PFCs, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
SOURCES: Sarah A. Uhl, M.S., (former) researcher, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, Conn.; Joseph Guettler, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich.; Feb. 14, 2013, Environmental Health Perspectives, online
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