Read the full article by Tom Perkins (The Guardian)
“Higher levels of exposure to toxic PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ may increase the likelihood of Covid-19 infection, more serious symptoms and death, a group of recent studies have found.
Public health advocates and researchers have feared since the coronavirus pandemic’s onset that PFAS, which are known to be immunotoxic, could hinder the body’s ability to fight Covid-19, and the four studies represent the first bit of research supporting the theory. However, the authors caution that more research is needed.
‘There’s clear science and evidence that immunological response and PFAS are connected and associated – that’s why the Covid aspect is so important to pursue,’ said Christel Nielsen, one of the study’s co-authors.
PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds most often used to make products water-, stain- and heat-resistant, and are called ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t naturally break down. They’re so effective that they’re used in thousands of applications across dozens of industries, but they’re also linked to cancer, decreased immunity, liver disease, kidney problems, birth defects and more.
PFAS are estimated to be in about 97% of Americans’ blood, and have been detected in all corners of the globe, including the Arctic. Some compounds can remain in the body for years or decades, depending on the quantity and chemical structure.
The chemicals are probably immunotoxic because they interfere with the body’s ability to create cells that turn into plasma. Plasma generates the antibodies that fight infection, and PFAS compounds appear to impact ‘key molecules’ in that process, said Phillipe Grandjean, an environmental health professor at Harvard.
A study he co-authored found one widely-used compound, PFBA, seemed to be particularly problematic. PFAS that are commonly used to repel water and grease in food packaging, or used as stain and waterproofing agents in clothing, shoes and carpeting can turn into PFBA when they break down.
The study’s authors checked plasma samples from 323 Danish residents who had Covid and looked for five PFAS compounds known to be immunotoxic. The study found detectable PFBA in plasma showed ‘a clear association with a more severe’ symptoms and death.
‘If you had PFBA in your blood, then you were more likely to go to the hospital, and to stay longer, to get into intensive care and to die from the infection,’ said Grandjean. More than 20 of those people who had PFBA in their blood had died.
‘The likelihood of this happening accidentally is extremely small,’ Grandjean said.”…