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A new scientific study has for the first time found a group of chemicals used in coatings on food wrappers in human blood.
Previous reports have documented low levels of certain perfluorochemicals - those used to make commercial products like food wrapper coatings - in the blood of the general human population.
But the new study, led by University of Toronto researchers, focused on chemicals that are actually used in food wrapper coatings and other consumer products.
The findings, published this week in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, provide more information about how humans are being exposed to these toxic materials.
Scott Mabury, one of the study authors, said the results indicate that these food wrapper coatings are likely breaking down in the body into C8, which is also known as PFOA, and a related chemical called PFOS.
"A significant amount of the levels in human blood is coming from products that make it inside our bodies," Mabury said in a phone interview.
Around the world, scientists are closely examining C8 and a related chemical called PFOS. A growing body of evidence shows these chemicals are linked to a variety of adverse health effects.
In West Virginia, concern about C8 has focused on the DuPont Co. plant near Parkersburg, which used the chemical for decades to make Teflon and other non-stick and stain-resistant products. Residents there have very high levels of C8 in their blood, from drinking polluted water and breathing polluted air, scientists say.
But the new study out this week focused on trying to pinpoint how PFOA and PFOS ended up in the blood of average humans who don't live near a chemical plant that makes or uses the materials.
Previous research by Tim Begley of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that chemicals used to make food wrappers grease proof could migrate into some foods.
The new study examined a group of chemicals called polyfluoroalkyl phosphoric acid diesters, or diPAPs, which are used in food wrapper coatings.
Researchers found the chemicals in the low-parts per billion range, providing a much clearer link between consumer products and human exposure.
"This class of chemicals is present in human serum," said Laurence Libelo, an EPA scientist who worked on the study. "We didn't know that before, until we went out and looked."
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