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CDC To Study Links Between PFAS and COVID-19

The Environmental Protection Agency signaled this year that it is considering setting a safety limit for PFAS in drinking water.
The Environmental Protection Agency signaled this year that it is considering setting a safety limit for PFAS in drinking water.

An agency within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct a nationwide study to examine the correlation between exposure to various man-made chemicals and COVID-19.

The study will look for a link between the level of the toxic chemical compounds in someone's blood and how vulnerable that person is to viral illnesses like COVID-19.

Jamie Dewitt researches the effects of PFAS on the immune system at East Carolina University. She says there's worry for communities in North Carolina where drinking water has been contaminated.

Jamie DeWitt
ECU
Jamie DeWitt is a researcher at East Carolina University

"Because we're in the midst of a global pandemic that requires really well working immune systems, people are concerned about their exposure because one the health effects that we know has been linked to PFAS exposure is a depressed ability of the immune system," she said. "It's unfortunate that we're in the midst of a global pandemic, but it does provide an opportunity to scientists to really make those linkages between exposures and a real time disease occurrence."

Last fall a study found some Pittsboro residents with PFAS levels in their blood two to five times higher than the general U.S. population. The contaminated Haw River is the source of drinking water for Pittsboro.

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