PFAS exposure increases the risk of coronavirus infection

By Treven Pyles

Posted on June 16th, 2021

Recent medical studies found that prolonged exposure to PFAS increases the risk of infection with coronavirus and decreases the effectiveness of the vaccine. For this reason, people who were exposed to these dangerous chemicals need to take extra protective measures.

In January 2021, Philippe Grandjean, the adjunct environmental health professor at Harvard University, along with his colleagues, found that a high concentration of PFAS in the blood is correlated with a greater risk of contracting the novel coronavirus. Furthermore, they discovered that the presence of these fluorinated chemicals in the body has a damaging effect on the immune system, which is why people who were exposed to PFAS are more susceptible to infection with the virus. One of the breakdown products of PFAS, which is known as PFBA, is now known to accumulate in the lungs, which only increases the chances of a person who was exposed of coming to struggle with coronavirus infection.

Grandjean and his team of researchers examined the blood samples of 323 patients with coronavirus infection from Denmark and found that those with high PFBA levels were more than twice as likely to develop a severe form of infection with the virus. Because PFAS are immunotoxic, they can "very likely interfere with the COVID-19 infection", according to Grandjean. To make matters worse, other medical researchers state that other PFAS compounds than PFBA may also cause similar effects in people with coronavirus infection. It is worthy of note that the number of toxic chemicals in PFAS is currently over 9,000, which is very alarming. In addition to increasing the risk of severe coronavirus infection, their presence in the body also makes the individual more prone to struggling with obesity, diabetes, and various cancers.

The presence of PFAS in the blood also decreases the response to the coronavirus vaccine

Linda Birnbaum, a toxicologist, and microbiologist spoke about how communities that are exposed to high levels of PFAS may be more vulnerable during the pandemic during a press event hosted by the Environmental Working Group. "We know that suppression of the immune system can be associated with a decreased ability to mount a therapeutic response to vaccination. That doesn't mean you don't get any response to vaccination, you may just not get as much", she said. Birnbaum suggested that people living in areas with high levels of contamination with PFAS, as well as civilian and military firefighters who are regularly exposed to these dangerous chemicals, should be prioritized when it comes to receiving the coronavirus vaccine. Moreover, a study published in the JAMA Network Open on January 25, 2021, found that increased exposure to PFAS was linked to a reduced humoral immune response to routine childhood immunizations in children aged 5 and 7 years, which is also the case of the coronavirus vaccine.

Because more information is necessary to reach a definitive conclusion, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is currently recruiting citizens for a study whose purpose is to determine whether the presence of PFAS in the body influences the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine. The people who will participate in this study will have up to 4 appointments at a study office, each about 30 days apart. If they get a two-shot COVID vaccine, they will have up to 4 study office appointments, whereas if they get a one-shot vaccine, they will have up to 3 study office appointments. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 90 are eligible for taking part in this study and they must not have gotten a coronavirus vaccine or they must have gotten it within the past 62 days.

Since PFAS has an immune-depressing power, people who will receive a COVID vaccine may not be fully protected afterward. This is without a doubt a serious cause for concern. For this reason, there are multiple ongoing studies, such as the one that is going to be conducted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, so that medical researchers will understand the extent to which the presence of PFAS in the blood affects the protection offered by the COVID vaccine. It is possible that people with high levels of PFAS in their bodies need a more potent vaccine against infection with coronavirus.

File a toxic exposure claim for PFAS exposure with the assistance of our skilled legal team

Since 1990, our law firm has been pursuing compensation on behalf of victims of toxic exposure and, if you are a civilian or military firefighter who has been regularly exposed to PFAS and developed a disease, we strongly encourage you to contact our legal team. People whose health was affected by PFAS exposure are entitled to financial compensation, which we can help you recover from the liable companies. The fire suppressant aqueous film-forming foam, commonly known as AFFF, is the primary source of PFAS exposure among firefighters.

All you have to do to recover the compensation you deserve for your diagnosis is to send us your employment or military records, as well as your medical records, and we will thoroughly assess your situation. If you are eligible for compensation, we will file a toxic exposure claim with each and every company responsible for your injury. Eventually, if you choose to work with our resourceful legal team, you will obtain the most favorable outcome for your case.