Article By John Gardella
National Law Review
On July 21, 2022, the National Academy of Science (NAS) held a public meeting regarding progress made on its PFAS report for recommendations to clinicians and physicians for PFAS testing. The National Academy of Science PFAS report that is to accompany the NAS findings is set to be release this week on July 28. While the report has not been released publicly yet, the findings by the NAS will have a significant impact on PFAS litigation, particularly personal injury litigation, for years to come. Any company with current or legacy PFAS use must pay close attention to the NAS PFAS report and recommendations.
National Academy of Science PFAS Report
A couple of years ago, the NAS began an undertaking to study recommendations that it could make to clinicians about PFAS testing in patients and how the test results can inform patient care. The NAS set out to examine the health effects for humans from PFAS and use any correlations to develop principles for treatment providers on 1 exposure reduction. The results of the NAS evaluation of health impacts from PFAS will be provided to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) for their ongoing research into the issue. The NAS will also provide its recommendations for CDC / ATSDR clinical guidelines, including:
- Options and considerations to guide decision-making for PFAS testing in a patient’s blood or urine;
- PFAS concentrations that could inform clinical care of exposed patients;
- Appropriate patient follow-up and care specific to PFAS-associated health endpoints for those patients known or suspected to be exposed to PFAS;
- Develop general principles for clinical evaluation or biological testing given substantial scientific uncertainty about health effects or the value of such measures in informing care. These principles may address reasons for testing (e.g., opportunities to reduce morbidity and mortality), when to test, who to test, how to test, what to test for, risks of testing, and the related social and ethical implications of testing;
- Review current knowledge about the contribution of PFAS exposure sources (i.e., drinking water, diet, the indoor environment, etc.) to human exposure and develop principles clinicians can use to advise patients on exposure reduction; and
- Outline a process by which the CDC / ATSDR PFAS clinical guidance can be effectively reviewed and revised over the next decade.
The National Academy of Science PFAS report will release its report on July 28 and host a webinar to explain its findings. During a July 21, 2022 briefing, Elizabeth Boyle, the committee’s responsible staff officer, said that the NAS has begun briefing sponsors, community liaisons and members of Congress ahead of the report’s release date. She also indicated that the NAS took into considerations environmental justice issues when writing its report.