Essay on a Critique of a Scientific Literature Paper

Published: 2021/12/15
Number of words: 1202

Article Name: “The association between PFOA, PFOS, and serum lipid levels in adolescents”

Journal Name: “Chemosphere”

Authors: “Sarah Dee Geiger, Jie Xiao, Alan Ducatman, Stephanie Frisbee, Kim Innes, and Anoop Shankar.”


Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are artificial chemicals that bio-accumulate, remain for long in the environment, bio-magnify along with food webs, and are proven to trigger endocrine, growth, and other factors side-effect health consequences in laboratory creatures. Some of the commonly researched groups of PFASs include “Perfluorooctanoic acid” (PFOA) and “Perfluorooctane sulfonate” (PFOS). The PFASs are essential in manufacturing polishes, lubricants, textile coatings, surfactants, paper, packing food, fire-delaying bubbles, and additional user items. According to reports from the national biomonitoring surveys, it is easy to trace PFASs in the bloodstream of 98 percent and more of the United States’ people.

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Research questions

What is the link between PFAS exposure and children diagnosed with Dyslipidemia?

Is there a relation between PFOS and PFOA exposure and serum lipid levels in children, based on data from the “National Health and National Examination Survey” (NHANES)?

The Social background and scientific attributes of the research

Based on reports from the national biomonitoring surveys, it is easy to trace PFASs in the bloodstream of 98 percent and more of the United States’ people. An abnormal amount of serum total cholesterol, also known as dyslipidemia, “low-density lipoprotein cholesterol” (LDL-C), “high-density lipoprotein cholesterol” (HDL-C), or triglycerides, has been found to be a significant, leading risk factor for heart disease among adults. On the other hand, children and adolescents showed a close association with heightened atherosclerosis and early CVD, an intermediary result in pharmacologic consideration. This project is interested in analyzing the link between PFOA and PFOS exposure and serum lipid levels in children by examining representative data from NHANES. Part of the scientific evidence presented at the time of publication includes studies showing that conservational PFAS exposure could have a part in developing increased lipid ranks in adults and a positive correlation observed between PFOA and total cholesterol, LDC-C, and triglycerides in occupational cohorts. Besides, a positive association was reported between total cholesterol and LDC-L and PFOA and PFOS exposure in an overall population sample. “The variables presented for the study included laboratory tests of plasma PFOA, PFOS, and total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, and triglycerides.”

The research population for the Geiger research was children of both genders aged between 12-18 years, with a sample size of 815 children. The review population was from different counties found in the US with “Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and others.” The study involved NHANES for raw facts provision, the “Human Subjects Committee in the US Department of Health and Human Service”, and the “National Center for Environmental Health”. Some of the policies observed were the signing of consent forms and the approval of all respondents. Also, there was the use of quality control checks and the Westgard rules when analyzing the specimen.


The research used the following methods to respond to the research question: “the stratified multistage probability sample representative of the civilian non-institutionalized population in the United States, biomonitoring for environmental substances such as perfluoroalkyl chemicals, the Fried Ewald formula measured LDL-C and HDL, and the model for the Roche Hitachi instrument measured total cholesterol.” A linear regression analysis, nested models, multivariable logistic regression, and the Taylor series linearization method were also employed.

Summary of results, discussion, conclusion, and materials

The results indicated a positive relationship between high total cholesterol and LDL-C levels and exposure to PFOA and PFOS from a multiethnic, typical representation of the United States children. Age, race/ethnicity, sex, body mass index, physical activity, serum cotinine levels, and annual household income all had no effect on the relationship. Even in areas with low levels of PFAS, the findings revealed a favorable relationship in youth in any given US population. PFASs did show the presence of endocrine-disrupting properties. Anomalous lipid levels in young people have an association with a heightened danger of early CVD, which are objectives for starting pharmacological treatment.

The results from the research were significant because there was significant evidence to support a positive relationship between interaction of PFOA and PFOS with high serum lipid ranks based on a sample, mixed race representation of the United States’ children. Findings suggest a causal link of a positive correlation between PFOA and PFOS and serum lipid levels.


Chemosphere” is a credible and journal location since it is a weekly peer-reviewed journal established to publish original information in conjunction with reviewing articles related to chemicals in the surroundings. It offers optimum propagation of investigations of all calibers about quantification, identification, fate, treatment, remediation, and toxicology of chemicals in the hydro-, bio-, litho-, and atmosphere. The authorship of this journal segment is reliable and established for credible work. Brief information about their professional data is provided in the journal to certify their work. The study provided detailed data on confounders and ensured that the sample size ensured a nationally representative nature.

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This study leaves the unanswered question of if PFOA exposure at the lower foundation ranks has any relation to Dyslipidaemia mid-life of 8.5 years at lower serum ranks and 2.9 suns at raised serum positions. This study does not evaluate causation because biological processes explaining the link between exposure to PFAS and serum lipid levels are not comprehended completely.

The shortcoming of this research was its cross-sectional state that limits the coming up of concluding statements concerning the transient state of the PFAS- serum lipids relationship.

Next steps

This study ends by leaving a research question of finding out the actual biological impact of PFAS exposure on lipids in future research. There is a need to investigate and respond to that question in future studies. According to the precautionary act, the responsibility of proving any potential threat in the actions of the government or industry lies on the certainty of security and that in the event of threats with adverse harm, in consideration of prevention, the scientific doubt should be fixed. Based on the context of this study, the principle could mean that the government should protect its people from PFAS exposure.


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