The safety of chemicals used to make pans non-stick has been called into question.

Chemicals used to waterproof fabrics and make non-stick cookware coatings have been linked to high cholesterol levels in kids, according to research reported by Reuters.

For the study, which appeared in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, scientists focused on two compounds: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS). They found that kids with the highest levels of two chemicals had higher cholesterol levels than children with lower blood levels of the substances.

Both the total cholesterol and the LDL, or so-called "bad" cholesterol, were higher in the children with higher levels of PFOA and PFOS. While the research does not prove that being exposed to the chemicals causes higher cholesterol levels, they do suggest a link and point to a need for further study, West Virginia University’s Stephanie Frisbee and her colleagues wrote.

PFOA and PFOS get into a person’s bloodstream through drinking water, microwave popcorn, dust, food packaging, occupational exposure and air, according to the scientists.

Frisbee and her co-workers looked at the cholesterol levels of more than 12,000 children who had PFOA in their drinking water. The children lived in the mid-Ohio River Valley, and had higher-than-average PFOA levels. Their PFOS concentration was around the same as the national average.

Those kids with the highest PFOA levels had total cholesterol levels that were 4.6 points higher and LDL cholesterol levels that were 3.8 points higher than kids who had the lowest PFOA levels.

More research is needed, said the team, to prove that exposure to chemicals could cause higher cholesterol levels.


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