Among 12- to 19-year-olds, the PFOA concentrations were higher than those seen in the general population, but PFOS concentrations were similar to those seen in samples from the general population, the researchers found.
Increased PFOA levels were associated with increased total cholesterol and LDL, or "bad," cholesterol, and PFOS was associated with increased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL, or "good," cholesterol, the researchers said. Neither chemical was associated with an increase in triglyceride levels, they added.
On average, the children with the highest PFOA levels had higher cholesterol, compared with the children with the lowest PFOA levels. In addition, those with the highest PFOS levels had cholesterol that was more than eight points higher than those with the lowest PFOS levels, Frisbee's group found. That translated to an average difference of 8.5 milligrams per deciliter.
Frisbee noted that higher cholesterol levels had also been found in adults who took part in the C8 Health Project and were exposed to these chemicals.
Whether the association between these chemicals and cholesterol is causal isn't known. To find out, further research is needed, Frisbee said.
"We cannot speak at this point -- it would be scientifically inaccurate -- to speak about causality," she said. In addition, the potential harm to these children and teens is still not known, Frisbee added.
However, animal studies have shown that the liver is the organ most affected by perfluoroalkyl acid, and the liver is where cholesterol is made, the researchers noted.
"These are chemicals that do not degrade in the environment," Frisbee added.
Both chemicals are being phased out in the United States of use and being replaced by other compounds. Whether these new chemicals are safe or whether they carry their own set of health problems isn't known, Frisbee said.
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