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Whites Have Higher Blood Levels of Cancer-Linked PFCs

The industrial chemicals are found in insecticides, non-stick coatings

THURSDAY, March 16, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Blood levels of cancer-linked industrial pollutants called perfluorochemicals (PFCs) vary by race and ethnicity, a new U.S. study shows.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed blood samples collected in 2001 and 2002 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that whites had three times higher blood serum levels of PFCs than Hispanics, and two times higher levels than blacks.

Men in all three racial groups had slighter higher PFC levels than women. The researchers concluded that age had no influence on blood concentrations of PFCs.

The researchers don't know why whites have high blood levels of PFCs, but noted the differences may be a reflection of greater exposure to PFCs among whites than among other racial/ethnic groups.

In addition to environmental exposure, PFC levels in certain groups of people may be linked to diet, lifestyle and genetic factors, the CDC team said.

PFCs were introduced in the 1950s and have been used to make insecticides, non-stick coatings and stain-resistant fabric and carpet. These compounds accumulate in the environment. While the human health effects of PFCs aren't yet known, laboratory studies have linked PFCs to cancer and developmental problems in animals.

The findings will be published in the April 1 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.

More information

The Minnesota Department of Health has more about PFCs.

SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, March 8, 2006
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