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Sunday, August 20, 2023

1 in 5 Children Have Levels of “Forever Chemicals” Above Safety Limits

What have we done to the kids?


PFAS, synthetic chemicals present in common consumer products, accumulate in nature and humans, causing several health problems including reduced vaccine response in children and certain types of cancer. 

A study from the University of Bergen showed 22% of sampled children had PFAS levels exceeding safety limits, echoing findings in other European studies.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are man-made chemicals used in a wide range of consumer goods like clothing, makeup, paints, and non-stick cookware. 

Their robust resistance to breaking down results in an accumulation of various types of PFAS both in the environment and within the human body. The primary avenues of PFAS exposure for people are through tainted food and contaminated drinking water.

Several negative health effects have been associated with PFAS exposure, including reduced vaccine response in children, reduced birth weight, and certain types of cancers. 

Reduced vaccine response in children was the basis for the safety limit set by the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2020. Several European countries are now working together to restrict the production and use of all PFAS in Europe.

As part of “the Bergen Growth Study 2” from 2016, researchers at the University of Bergen collected blood samples from children aged 6-16 years for PFAS analyses. Four PFAS were present in all children. 

In addition, 22% of the children had PFAS levels above the safety limits set by EFSA, indicating a potential risk of negative health effects. This is in line with findings in other European and Norwegian studies.

Reference: “Levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Norwegian children stratified by age and sex – Data from the Bergen Growth Study 2” by Ingvild Halsør Forthun, Mathieu Roelants, Line Småstuen Haug, Helle Katrine Knutsen, Lawrence M. Schell, Astanand Jugessur, Robert Bjerknes, Azemira Sabaredzovic, Ingvild Særvold Bruserud and Petur Benedikt Juliusson, 7 June 2023, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2023.114199