Read the full article by Adrienne Matei (The Guardian)

“Among all the toxins in the Pandora’s Box of chemical pollutants that humans have released upon the world, PFAS are particularly disturbing.

PFAS – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – are nicknamed ‘forever chemicals’ for their ubiquity, persistence and toxicity. They are used in household items including non-stick pans, waterproof fabrics, and microwave popcorn bags, and can contaminate water, air, soil, crops and animal products. They accumulate in the blood, bones and tissues of living things and do not degrade. PFAS impair human immune systems, making us more susceptible to diseases – even those we’ve been vaccinated against. Researchers associate the chemicals with liver disease, obesity, thyroid disorders, and certain cancers, among other health problems. These observations generally pertain to the relatively few PFAS we have researched, including PFOA and PFOS; PFAS belong to a massive family of chemicals, thousands of them unstudied and potentially harmful.

Now, for the first time, scientists have found a way to remove PFAS from the human body: by donating blood.

A new study published in JAMA Network Open tracked PFAS levels in 285 Australian firefighters, who are regularly exposed to PFAS in firefighting foam and accrue high levels of the chemicals in their bodies. Over a year, one group of firefighters donated plasma every six weeks, another donated blood every 12 weeks, and a third group acted as a control.

‘This randomized clinical trial showed that regular blood or plasma donations result in a significant reduction in serum PFAS levels for participants,’ the study’s authors wrote. Blood donors reduced their PFAS levels by 10%, and plasma donors reduced theirs by 30%. Both groups maintained their reduction for at least three months post-trial. The study did not explore whether a reduction in PFAS in the blood necessarily leads to better health.

It’s almost ironic: while the $4tn global wellness industry bends over backwards to sell us dubious detox products, there is an accessible, easy, and free way to genuinely rid our bloodstreams of toxins. And blood is always in high demand. The American Red Cross – which supplies 40% of the country’s blood – saw its worst blood shortage in more than a decade this January.”…