Read the full article by Jeff McMenemy (EDGE Radio)
“U.S. Jeanne Shaheen is asking if COVID-19 poses “any unique risks” to people who have previously been exposed to PFAS chemicals.
The former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth and Newington is one of a long list of military installations in the United States that have been contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS, sometimes referred to as forever chemicals.
Thousands of people working at the former base or Pease International Tradeport, along with children and infants who attended two day-care centers there, were exposed to multiple PFAS chemicals from contaminated water in the city of Portsmouth-owned Haven well up until its closure in 2014.
Shaheen, along with a group of other U.S. senators, sent a letter to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday raising concerns about how COVID-19 might impact people exposed to PFAS.
‘As our country continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you and the leadership of agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure that the connection between PFAS exposure and COVID-19 is thoroughly examined so that individuals in communities impacted by PFAS can take precautions that are guided by scientific evidence,’ the senators stated in the letter to DHHS Secretary Alex Azar II.
The senators noted that ‘the relationship between PFAS exposure and the incidence of COVID-19 is one area where more research is needed.’
‘Studies have suggested that exposure to high levels of PFAS can have a detrimental effect on the body’s immune system, which can leave individuals with PFAS exposure at increased risk for complications from many different diseases and conditions,’ the letter states.
Shaheen and the other senators also noted that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) issued a “Statement on Potential Intersection between PFAS Exposure and COVID-19” earlier this month.
In the statement, ‘the agency expressed concern about how PFAS exposure can impact the risk of COVID-19 infection,’ the letter.
‘This statement indicated that ’there is evidence from human and animal studies that PFAS exposure may reduce antibody responses to vaccines… and may reduce infectious disease resistance,’ Shaheen and the other senators wrote.
They are asking DHHS to provide answers to a series of questions…”