It could be caused by a common chemical! – Is your cholesterol too high? This may not be due to your eating habits: A chemical used in everything from refrigeration to cosmetics may be partly responsible for the rise in US cholesterol levels.

Polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs) may affect serum cholesterol levels in people. PFCs are highly stable compounds used in commercial and industrial applications such as paper and textile coatings and food packaging. These compounds have been found to be highly persistent in human tissues, with serum elimination half-lives of more than eight years for some types of PFCs. They are present in the bodies of nearly everyone in Western countries. It has been discovered that people with higher PFC levels in their bodies also tend to have higher cholesterol.

Researcher Jessica Nelson says her study indicates that “PFCs may be exerting an effect on cholesterol at environmentally relevant exposures.”

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