Read the full article from Zoe Read (WHYY PBS)

“Scientists want to know if exposure to PFAS, a toxic class of chemicals, can contribute to severe illness from COVID-19 or reduce the effectiveness of vaccines. Known as forever chemicals because they don’t naturally break down in the environment, PFAS can cause serious health problems, including effects on the immune system.

PFAS — which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — are widely used in consumer products such as nonstick cookware, flame-retardant fabrics, and some food packaging. They are also found in firefighting foam used at airports and current and decommissioned military bases, such as those in Bucks and Montgomery counties in Pennsylvania and at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and Dover Air Base in Delaware.

Previous studies have suggested that exposure to the chemicals can worsen lung function, and possibly reduce a person’s response to other types of vaccines. But there’s no data showing the effects of PFAS exposure on COVID-19 or the vaccines currently being administered. Researchers around the world are now seeking answers.

‘Right now, particularly with the pandemic and vaccinations on people’s minds, we really want to make sure the vaccines are effective for everyone, especially for people who had high PFAS exposures,’ said Laurel Schaider, senior scientist for the Silent Spring Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches chemical exposure and health outcomes.”…