Read the full article by Brian Bienkowski (Environmental Health News)
“Alligators living along the Cape Fear River in North Carolina had high levels of 14 different PFAS chemicals in their blood and showed clear signs of immune system dysfunction, according to a new study.
The Cape Fear region in North Carolina has struggled with elevated PFAS levels for decades due, in part, to the Chemours plant near Fayetteville which manufactured the chemicals.
The study, led by North Carolina State University researchers and published today in the Frontiers in Toxicology journal, suggests that per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, commonly known as PFAS, are disrupting the immune systems of both exposed wildlife and humans.
‘Alligators are a sentinel species – harbingers of dangers to human health,’ said Scott Belcher, associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University and co-author of the study, in a statement.
The implications are substantial: the study comes on the heels of a new report that found PFAS contamination is likely at more than 57,000 locations across the U.S.
Immune system impacts add to a litany of potential health problems from PFAS, including kidney and testicular cancer, liver and thyroid problems, reproductive problems and increased risk of birth defects, among others.
This study isn’t the first evidence of PFAS immune system impacts: the chemicals are believed to suppress the ability of the immune system to make antibodies, which is vital in fighting COVID-19 and other infections. Exposed children have also shown decreased responses to childhood vaccines, and some studies of adults exposed to PFAS also have shown diminished responses to flu vaccines.” …