In a study that could potentially change housekeeping rules, scientists have suggested that common chemicals found in domestic items like non-stick cookware and grease-resistant food packaging could be associated to increasing cholesterol levels among teenagers.

People are exposed to chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in dust, non-stain carpets, waterproof fabric, drinking water, microwave bags and several such daily use household products, says study author Stephanie J. Frisbee, research instructor in the Department of Community Medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown.

The researchers said they found positive evidence of an association between perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and the total cholesterol to LDL cholesterol levels in blood levels of teenagers. It was observed that as the levels of these chemicals shot up, so did the bad cholesterol.

The study, published in the latest issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, collected cholesterol data of more than 12,000 children and adolescents who were part of a C8 Health project in West Virginia. Among the participants the average PFOA concentration was 69.2 nanograms per milliliter and average PFOS concentration was 22.7 nanograms per milliliter.

The concentration levels of PFOA were higher among the group of children aged between 12 and 19 years though PFOS levels were similar to those seen in the samples of the general population.

Increased PFOA levels were linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol while the PFOS was linked to the increased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL or good cholesterol, the researchers said.

It was observed that children with the highest PFOA levels had higher cholesterol, compared with the children with the lowest PFOA levels. Moreover, those with the highest PFOS levels had cholesterol that was more than eight points higher than those with the lowest PFOS levels.