Veterans exposed to PFAS chemicals may have weakened immune systems
By Miguel Levya
Photo via Pixabay January 28, 2021 (San Diego)
As many communities continue to see COVID-19 spread, one of the most important questions surrounding the pandemic remains: why are some people hit harder than others? Certain underlying medical conditions might account for the differential response, but there’s still variation in impact even among these people who are at higher risk. An important clue could be found in an individual’s previous exposure to various chemical substances. An important percentage of the U.S. population who is most at risk for exposure to several chemicals, thus making it more difficult to fight off COVID-19, are the veterans. And among the class of chemicals known to adversely impact the immune system are per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).PFAS, known as “forever chemicals” - given that, once in the environment, they are present more or less in perpetuity - are man-made substances that have a variety of uses, including in firefighting foams.