A new study suggests per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as forever chemicals or PFAS, reduce the activity of human immune cells.
Researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, showed PFAS can impair health by reducing this activity.
The study, recently published in Chemosphere, also featured a method that “could be used to reveal the immunomodulatory effects of other chemicals.”
Dr. Gunda Herberth, an environmental immunologist, and other scientists examined the impact of PFAS on immune cells from the blood of healthy donors.
“PFAS are poorly to hardly biodegradable — and that is a real problem,” Herberth said. “They therefore accumulate in the environment — in soils and bodies of water. They can even be found in Antarctica. They can enter the human body via food, drinking water, or the air.”
Herberth went on to say, “Studies have shown that PFAS can be detected in the blood of almost everyone in the world. What this means for our long-term health is not yet known.”
In the study, the immune cells were exposed to PFAS mixtures for 20 hours and then stimulated before their activity was measured. The cells that were exposed to PFAS showed “significantly lower activity than untreated cells,” according to the study.
Author: Mike Taylor