New Statement from CDC on "Possible Intersection" Between PFAS Exposure and COVID-19


Analies Dyjak, M.A.  |  Policy Nerd

Editor’s Note: We wanted to inform the public of the recent statement made by CDC about a “possible intersection” between PFAS and COVID-19. The full statement from CDC can be read here.

CDC’s Statement on COVID-19 and PFAS Exposure:

“CDC/ATSDR understands that many of the communities we are engaged with are concerned about how PFAS exposure may affect their risk of COVID-19 infection. We agree that this is an important question.
CDC/ATSDR recognizes that exposure to high levels of PFAS may impact the immune system. There is evidence from human and animal studies that PFAS exposure may reduce antibody responses to vaccines (Grandjean et al., 2017, Looker et al., 2014), and may reduce infectious disease resistance (NTP, 2016). Because COVID-19 is a new public health concern, there is still much we don’t know. More research is needed to understand how PFAS exposure may affect illness from COVID-19.”

Where Are PFAS Found in the United States?

Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) threaten drinking water across the entire country. They've been detected in drinking water in 49 states, including large cities like San Jose, California, Richmond, Virginia, and Durham, North Carolina. Because PFAS are not federally regulated, public water suppliers are not required to test for PFAS or notify residents if it's been detected in drinking water. Check out this map created by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) to see if PFAS have been detected in your tap water. EWG did not test every municipality in the country. For that reason, PFAS may still be present in your drinking water even if your municipality is not highlighted on the map.

What To Do:

  1. Find out if your municipality is testing for PFAS in drinking water. 
  2. If you plan on purchasing a water filter, make sure that it’s been third-party tested to remove PFAS. Most standard pitcher and refrigerator filters DO NOT remove PFAS. This Duke University study tested various filters and their ability to remove it. Check it out before purchasing! Click here
  3. Reach out to your elected officials to ensure that they understand PFAS is a serious threat to public health.
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