Eating fast food wrapped in PFAS laden food packaging may be a one-two punch for your prostate. A new study conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois has found that PFAS exposure together with a high-fat diet causes malignant prostate tumors to grow much faster than those without exposure to the chemical.
The scientists in the study performed several experiments. In one they exposed malignant human prostate cells to PFOS and PFBS and compared them to malignant prostate cells that were not exposed. The cancerous cells replicated three times faster than the control group when exposed to PFOS and 5 times faster when exposed to PFBS.
In a follow-up experiment, they injected mice with the malignant human prostate cells and fed them either a high-fat diet or a control diet. Some of the mice also received doses of PFOS, a common form of PFAS that has previously been linked to cancer. As expected, the mice fed a high-fat diet exhibited faster tumor growth than mice in the control group. The mice exposed to PFOS who ate the control diet had even faster tumor growth than the mice fed a high-fat diet. But the mice who were exposed to PFOS and fed a high-fat diet had the fastest rate of tumor growth of all.
The scientists analyzed the different tumors and determined that the data suggests that PFAS works in conjunction with dietary fat to activate a protein-coding gene called PPARa which controls cell proliferation. This increased PPARa activity increases the carcinogenic risk in normal prostate cells and escalates tumor growth in malignant cells.
The study is believed to be the first one to establish that PFAS and a high-fat diet can work together to cause prostate cells to become malignant, activating rapidly growing tumors. This is especially concerning because testing has found that many of the most popular fast-food chains use PFAS-treated food packaging, with the worst culprits being the paper bags used for high-fat fried foods like chicken nuggets and french fries. So those trips to McDonald’s or Burger King can be a double whammy for your prostate.
Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the U.S. Some 248,530 new cases and 34,130 deaths are predicted in 2021. This new study suggests that cutting down your fast food intake may be one way to reduce your risk of developing this cancer.