In 2023, a team of researchers led by Brian A. Rodríguez-Aguilar conducted an important study on PFAS blood serum levels.[ https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/blood-testing.html ] They published their findings in the journal Science of The Total Environment. The study’s focus was the effects of PFAS in drinking water in Pittsboro, North Carolina.
The Study’s Objective
The researchers had a clear objective for this study. They wanted to characterize the PFAS in paired samples of drinking water and blood. These samples came from a small group of residents in Pittsboro. The number of residents involved in this study was 49. This study is significant because it focuses on a community with documented PFAS contamination in its drinking water source, the Haw River.
Methodology of the Pittsboro Study
The team collected samples of tap water and serum from blood. They collected these from adult residents of Pittsboro in late 2019 and early 2020. The researchers then analyzed the collected samples. They quantified 13 different PFAS analytes.
PFAS Findings in Tap Water and Serum
The researchers found PFAS in all serum samples. Some serum PFAS concentrations were 2 to 4 times higher than the median U.S. serum concentrations. This is the median reported in the general U.S. population. Of the 13 PFAS in drinking water, perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) had the highest concentrations.
PFAS Exposure and Health Risks
The researchers found that the PFAS levels in the current drinking water were not associated with current serum PFAS. This suggests that the serum PFAS in this cohort likely reflects historical exposure to PFAS with long half-lives. These include PFOS and PFOA. However, one PFAS with a shorter half-life (PFHxA) was observed to increase in serum. This reflects the temporal variability of PFHxA in river and drinking water.
Statistical Analysis of PFAS Exposure
The researchers conducted statistical analyses. They found that serum PFOA and PFHxS were positively associated with total cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol. No serum PFAS was associated with HDL cholesterol. In the clinical chemistry analyses, serum PFHxA was found to be negatively associated with electrolytes and liver enzymes. These include AST and ALT. Serum PFOS was found to be positively associated with the ratio of blood urea nitrogen to creatinine (BUN:Cre).
Conclusion of the Pittsboro Study
The study concluded with some significant findings. It revealed extensive exposure to PFAS in Pittsboro. It also found associations with clinical blood markers. This suggests potential health impacts in community residents. The study underscores the need for further research into the health impacts of PFAS exposure. This is to ensure the safety and health of all individuals who rely on both private wells and public water supplies for their drinking water. The findings of this study highlight the urgent need for more comprehensive and detailed research in this area.
The Need for Further Research
The findings of this study underscore the urgent need for further research. This research should focus on the health impacts of PFAS exposure. https://stagliuzza.com/news/should-i-have-my-blood-tested-for-pfas/ This is to ensure the safety and health of all individuals who rely on both private wells and public water supplies for their drinking water. The findings of this study highlight the urgent need for more comprehensive and detailed research in this area. The researchers call for more studies to understand the full impact of PFAS on human health. They also call for more effective strategies to reduce PFAS exposure in communities like Pittsboro.