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Can PFAS Cause Kidney Cancer?

Increased rates of kidney cancer have been diagnosed in individuals with elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS “forever chemicals,” in their blood.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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PFAS Exposure Kidney Cancer Study

To investigate the link between PFAS exposure and kidney cancer, researchers at the National Cancer Institute conducted a study [1] that looked at the risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC, the most common form of kidney cancer) in relation to levels of PFOA and 7 other PFAS within the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial, a large U.S. population-based cohort.

The cohort included 324 RCC cases and 324 individually matched controls. The findings suggested a heightened risk of kidney cancer associated with increasing PFOA exposure. The researchers concluded that PFOA is a renal carcinogen, and the findings demonstrated that exposures comparable to those observed in the general population are linked to an increased risk for kidney cancer development.

Related Article: PFAS Lawsuit Update

What is Kidney Cancer?

Kidney cancer is a disease characterized by the abnormal growth of cells in a person’s kidney tissue. In time, these cells form a mass called a tumor. Kidney cancer begins when something triggers a change in the cells of the kidney, and they divide out of control.

Kidney Cancer Symptoms

In its early stages, kidney cancer usually doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms. Over time, the following symptoms may develop:

  • Blood in your urine, which may appear pink, red or cola-colored
  • Pain in your back or side that doesn’t go away
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Fever


Kidney cancer is typically treated with a combination of surgery, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also used in some cases. People with kidney cancer that has spread (metastatic cancer) often receive multiple lines of therapy.

What Other Chemicals Have Been Linked to Kidney Disease?

In addition to PFAS, other chemicals that have been associated with kidney cancer include trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, benzidine, cadmium, herbicides, and vinyl chloride.

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If you or a loved one was injured by PFAS contamination, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

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