Back in February, we reported that nearly half of all fast food wrappers tested contained fluorinated compounds.
Back in February, we reported that nearly half of all fast food wrappers tested contained fluorinated compounds. That’s important, since these chemicals can carry serious risks to our health—and they can easily migrate from the wrappers to the food to your body.
But researchers couldn’t really say what happened once the chemicals made their way in. Now, they may be one step closer: Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Medicine have developed a new method for tracking the fate of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) after they enter the body.
In the study, researchers used radiolaebling techniques to detect the PSAS in the bodies of mice. They replaced one of the fluorine atoms in the PFAS molecule with a radioactive form of it—the same one that is used for detection in medical PET scans in hospitals worldwide. This allows the researchers to trace the compound as it moves through the mice’s bodies.
The result? The researchers discovered that the tracers were detected in all of the organs tested—including the brain—but that the highest accumulation was seen in the liver and the stomach, according to the University’s press release.
This can potentially pave the way for doctors to measure levels of PFAS in humans, which can help solidify the relationship between the chemicals and disease. Currently, PFAS have been linked to kidney and testicular cancers, thyroid issues, and low birth weight.
Plus, it’s also possible that the technology can one day help researchers figure out how to remove PFAS from contaminated environments—like drinking water—which can prevent PFAS from getting into our bodies in the first place.