In an article published on February 13, 2018 by The Guardian, editor Ian Sample reported on a new scientific study linking exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) with increased weight gain. The study was published on the same day in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine and conducted by Gang Liu and colleagues from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Louisiana State University, and Tulane University, all U.S.. The researchers analyzed data for 621 overweight and obese people who had participated in a two-year clinical dieting trial in the mid-2000s. Liu and colleagues found that participants with the highest blood concentrations of PFASs gained the most weight back after the dieting phase. This link was most pronounced among women. Also, higher PFASs blood levels were significantly associated with lower resting metabolic rates.

“Our findings have revealed a novel pathway through which PFASs might interfere with human body weight regulation and thus contribute to the obesity epidemic,” stated Qi Sun, senior author of the study. PFASs are used in various consumer products such as stain-resistant carpets, waterproof textiles, non-stick cookware, and food packaging.

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Ian Sample (February 13, 2018). “Chemicals in packaging, carpets and non-stick pans ‘may contribute to obesity.’The Guardian

Science Daily (February 13, 2018). “PFASs, chemicals commonly found in environment, may interfere with body weight regulation.Science Daily

Brian Bienkowski (February 14, 2018). “Another potential PFAS problem: Weight gain.Environmental Health News

Lorraine Chow (February 14, 2018). “Non-stick chemicals used in pans, food wrappers linked to weight gain.EcoWatch

Ryan O’Connell (February 20, 2018). “New study links PFAS exposure and body weight regulation.EDF Health


Liu, G., et al. (2018). “Perfluoroalkyl substances and changes in body weight and resting metabolic rate in response to weight-loss diets: A prospective study.PLOS Medicine (published online February 13, 2018).