PFAS, Phenols, and Parabens: Links to Hormone-Mediated Cancers

A number of cancers are hormone-mediated. These include prostate, breast, ovarian, endometrial, testicular, and thyroid cancer, as well as melanoma. Many industrial chemicals found in consumer products and in the environment are endocrine disruptors, and could influence risk of hormone-mediated cancers.

Dr. Max Aung, JPB Fellow, presented the results of a recent study that examined the relationship between certain chemicals and risk of hormone-mediated cancers. Specifically, the study examined current levels of phenols, parabens, and PFAS chemicals in blood and urine of study participants, and examined the relationship between those exposure levels and past diagnosis of a hormone-mediated cancer. The study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the period 2005 to 2018.

The study found a relationship between exposure to these chemicals and increased likelihood of a past diagnosis of one of the cancers. For example, for women, the study found a positive association between several biomarkers of PFAS exposure and melanoma. The study also found positive associations between certain PFAS and phenols and ovarian cancer. The study highlights racial disparities in exposures to certain toxicants, and points to the need for greater surveillance of certain chemical exposures and regulatory action to reduce or eliminate these exposures.

The webinar was moderated by Génon Jensen, Founder and Executive Director of the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). Watch it here.