Scientists seek evidence that ‘forever chemicals’ hinder COVID-19 vaccines
By Jon Hurdle | NJ Spotlight | December 16, 2020
Read the full article by Jon Hurdle (NJ Spotlight)
“A public health expert urged people not to jump to conclusions about any links between COVID-19 and PFAS “forever chemicals” even though federal authorities are looking into whether newly available vaccines for the deadly virus are made less effective by the toxic chemicals in the bloodstream.
Dr. Robert Laumbach, a professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health, said there’s no proven link between the virus and the chemicals despite studies that show the efficacy of some other vaccines is reduced by the presence of blood-borne PFAS. Scientists say almost everyone has the chemicals in their blood because of the widespread and persistent presence of the chemicals in water and soil.
‘We really don’t know anything people can do to reduce their risk [of PFAS in their blood] so this is not the kind of concern that we would want to raise alarms about from a public health point of view because people really can’t do anything about it, or about whether it affects their risk of getting COVID-19,’ Laumbach said in an interview Tuesday.
Laumbach is leading a federally funded investigation into the chemicals’ effects on public health in the Gloucester County community of Paulsboro, where some of the country’s highest levels of PFAS have been found in public drinking water.
State environmental officials have blamed the contamination on Solvay Specialty Polymers, a chemical company in nearby West Deptford which previously used a PFAS chemical that is now subject to a strict state health limit, and is now using an unregulated substitute that researchers say is just as toxic.
Still, Laumbach said his team won’t be looking into any links between the virus and PFAS in the Paulsboro study because any such investigation would not fit into the study design.
The project, which is part of a multi-site investigation into PFAS and health around the country, aims to take blood from 1,300 people who may have been exposed to PFAS. The work was scheduled to start in early 2021 but its timing is now uncertain because of the pandemic, Laumbach said…”
This content provided by the PFAS Project.