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Common Industrial Chemicals May Not Boost Cancer Risk
Date:4/8/2009

were cancer-free when they were enrolled in the study between 1993 and 1997. The researchers identified 713 people who were later diagnosed with prostate cancer, 332 with bladder cancer, 128 with pancreatic cancer, and 67 with liver cancer. They compared these people with 772 people without cancer.

They also divided the participants into four groups based on their blood levels of PFOA and PFOS.

"We find no association between plasma concentrations of PFOA and PFOS and risk for prostate, bladder, pancreatic, or liver cancer in the general Danish population," Raaschou-Nielsen said.

This study did not investigate a possible cancer risk with higher blood levels of PFOA/PFOS, which can occur among people who work with these chemicals or people living in the vicinity of a chemical plant that pollutes the environment with PFOA/PFOS, Raaschou-Nielsen said.

Any danger with these chemicals may soon become moot, since, in 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had commitments from eight manufacturers of PFOA to voluntarily reduce emissions and product content of PFOA and related chemicals in the United States and overseas by 95 percent by 2010, and to work toward eliminating emissions and product content of these chemicals by 2015. This action was brought on because the chemical was associated with what the EPA called "systemic and developmental toxicity."

In addition, 3M, the only manufacturer of PFOS in the United States, had agreed to phase out its production and use of the chemical nine years ago, according to the EPA's Web site.

Dr. Michael J. Thun, vice president emeritus for Epidemiology and Surveillance Research at the American Cancer Society, believes the findings are interesting but not conclusive.

"The optimal solution is not to be absorbing these chemicals," Thun said. "The process of proving that they are safe is an impossible task. There are so many different conditions. and it's
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