Adverse effects of PFAS on Immune System Health: Complicating recovery during the COVID-19 Pandemic

On December 2 we heard from Dr. Philippe Grandjean about the latest research on PFAS contamination and their effects on immune system health. This is Part 3 of a four-part series on PFAS organized by Alaska Community Action on Toxics as part of the Alaska PFAS Summit.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been widely used in textiles, cookware, and food packaging for stain and stick resistance for more than fifty years. Today, these compounds are widespread in our environment, the foods we eat, and our bodies.

Dr. Philippe Grandjean and others have been investigating the relationship between PFAS and human health, in particular, the effects of PFAS on the human immune system. The global COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of immune system health, the effectiveness of vaccinations, and the role PFAS play in human health.  Specifically, Dr. Grandjean will present research results that show that PFAS exposure reduces the effectiveness of vaccines, how infectious disease in children is different from adult disease, and his team’s most recent data on COVID-19.

PLOS One article by Grandjean et al. (2020) entitled Severity of Covid-19 at elevated exposure to perfluorinated alkylates –

PFAS Chemicals Harm the Immune System, Decrease Response to Vaccines, New EWG Review Finds (November, 2020)  –

Severity of COVID-19 at elevated exposure to perfluorinated alkylates (Grandjean et al., 2020)

Arctic Today (Oct 2020) – Concern mounts over impact of toxic forever chemicals in the arctic –

Previous Collaborative on Health and Environment (CHE) webinars with Dr. Grandjean:

A Summary of Dr. Philippe Grandjean’s Research  –

You can watch Part 2 of ACAT’s virtual PFAS Summit here (the second part of ACAT’s PFAS series leading up to Alaska’s legislative session) – The password is [email protected]

National PFAS Contamination Coalition –

ACAT’s report on PFAS contamination in Alaska –

Featured speakers

Dr. Grandjean is the head of the Environmental Medicine Research Unit at the University of Southern Denmark and adjunct professor of environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Grandjean is also co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Health and has served for over 30 years as toxicology consultant at the National Board of Health in Denmark. His research focuses on the adverse health effects from exposures to environmental chemicals, such as PFASs, especially those occurring during highly vulnerable stages of life (e.g. prenatally and to children).

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