(HealthDay News) – Levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), found in household consumer products, correlate positively with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and peripheral arterial disease (PAD), independently of other variables, according to a study published online Sept 3 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

To assess the independent association between PFOA levels and CVD, Anoop Shankar, MD, PhD, from the West Virginia University School of Public Health in Morgantown, and colleagues examined 1,216 subjects (51.2% women) participating in the 1999–2003 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey for whom serum PFOA was available.

The researchers observed a positive correlation between increasing serum PFOA levels and CVD and PAD, independent of other variables, including age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking status, body mass index, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and serum cholesterol level. Compared with the reference PFOA level (quartile 1), among individuals in quartile 4, the odds ratio for CVD was 2.01 (P=0.01 for trend), and for PAD was 1.78 (P=0.04 for trend).

“In a representative cross-sectional sample of the U.S. population, we found that higher PFOA levels are positively associated with self-reported CVD and objectively measured PAD,” the authors write. “Our findings, however, should be interpreted with caution because of the possibility of residual confounding and reverse causality.”

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