August 2, 2022
A National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel is recommending that health clinicians offer patients blood testing if they are likely to have elevated exposures to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) due to work or community exposures and advises federal agencies to launch research into PFAS in breastmilk and formula.
Such recommendations are expected to bolster efforts by plaintiffs in class action cases and other venues who are seeking to require PFAS manufacturers and users of the chemicals to compensate them for medical monitoring due to their exposures and could potentially lay the groundwork for future claims.
“This new report reaffirms and amplifies the warning I have been trying to get out to the public and health officials for decades as to the unprecedented scope and scale of the public health threat posed by these man-made PFAS forever chemicals,” Rob Bilott, an attorney representing a class of plaintiffs seeking medical monitoring for their PFAS exposures, said in a statement distributed by the Environmental Working Group.
“The public — those of us exposed to these poisons for decades without our knowledge and consent — should not bear the cost of the public health impacts when we already know exactly which companies caused this problem,” he added.
In its new report, “Guidance on PFAS Exposure, Testing, and Clinical Follow-Up,” an NAS panel lays out how clinicians should address PFAS — from discussing possible exposures with patients, to screening and testing, and advising ways in which exposure levels can be reduced.
The report calls for various levels of response, depending on patients’ blood serum levels — starting with some level of screening for various health conditions at levels as low as 2 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) in blood serum.
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