"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

“Forever Chemicals” linked to testicular cancer within the military

August 9, 2023 – A latest study shows a link between testicular cancer and “forever chemicals” present in the blood of 1000’s of military personnel.

Previous studies have found a link between higher rates of testicular cancer in firefighters, pointing to perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in foam used to fight fires. However, the direct link between PFAS and testicular cancer in soldiers has not been addressed. KFF Health News reported.

For the brand new study, researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences used blood samples from Air Force soldiers. They found a direct link between PFOS, a PFAS chemical, and testicular cancer.

“Airmen who were firefighters had elevated bloodstream PFAS levels, and weaker evidence (was found) for those who lived on facilities with high levels of PFAS in drinking water,” KFF reported. Airmen with testicular cancer had higher serum PFOS levels than those without cancer, said study co-author Mark Purdue, a senior investigator on the NCI.

“To my knowledge,” Purdue said, “this is the first study to measure PFAS levels in the U.S. military population and examine associations with a cancer endpoint in this population. This provides new evidence.”

Kyle Steenland, PhD, professor on the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, wrote in an accompanying article within the journalEnvironmental health perspectives that the research “makes a valuable contribution to the literature.”

Thousands of PFAS chemicals, also called “forever chemicals,” are present in countless industrial and household goods. Old supplies of aqueous film forming foam – a foamy white flame retardant generally known as AFF – contained PFOS. They have been replaced with foam containing newer PFAS which have also been shown to be toxic. The Department of Defense must phase out using all foams containing PFAS by October 2024. The foam was particularly effective at fighting extremely hot fires, similar to aircraft or ship fires, KFF Health News reported.