(Relaxnews) – A chemical known as PFOA, found in common household products, may be linked with heart disease and stroke, according to new researchÂ publishedÂ online on September 3.
“Even at the low exposure levels of PFOAs found in most Americans, there is a positive association between increasing levels of PFOAs and cardiovascular disease,” researcher Anoop Shankar, MD, PhD, MPH, of the West Virginia University School of Public Health in the US, told WebMD.
PFOA is widely used to make lubricants, polishes, paper coatings, food packaging, fire-retardant foams, and products made with Teflon. Levels of this chemical have been found in the blood of more than 98 percent of Americans, and the chemical stays in the body for years.
Appearing in the journalÂ Archives of Internal Medicine, the research involved data on more than 1,200 men and women, averaging in their 50s, gathered from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
According to CNN, subjects “with the highest levels of PFOA in their blood had double the odds of having a history of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke, compared to adults with the lowest PFOA levels.” Also, those subjects with the highest levels of the chemical in their blood were associated with 78 percent greater chances of peripheral artery disease. But because the research only found an association between PFOA and vascular diseases, not a cause-and-effect link, the scientists say more work needs to be done.
WebMD reports that while other studies have found a link between PFOA and heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, few studies have examined the chemical’s effects on cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke.