A new federal study strongly suggests that all U.S. residents harbor measurable traces of fluorochemicals, compounds used to impart water- and oil-repelling features to a host of consumer products. Separately, Japanese researchers report that at least one of these pollutants reaches even fetuses.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, human exposures are of concern. In laboratory animals, some of these long-lived compounds have caused developmental problems, liver toxicity, immune problems, and cancer.
The studies on people and fetuses, described last week in Baltimore at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) annual meeting, were among roughly 2 dozen reports on the fate and potential consequences of fluorochemicals in people, wildlife, and the environment. Overall, the evidence suggests that these pollutants are ubiquitous.