No one expected a pandemic to lockdown the world in the 21st century, but it did. COVID-19 has changed the lives of everyone on the planet in unexpected ways. This infectious respiratory disease has proven to be life-altering, debilitating, and deadly. It seems like every week record new cases and rates of hospitalizations are broken. And it’s likely some COVID variant may become endemic, a “forever virus” like the flu. We’re all exhausted from COVID fatigue, but life must go on and businesses must grow. But with some changes to ‘life’ and ‘business as usual.’
Vaccines, masking, and social distancing have proven successful in slowing the spread the pandemic. But it’s taken time to get used to. Plant managers, line workers, engineers, and the sales team have had to make concessions, like masking and sitting six feet apart or taking Zoom meetings where face-to-face interaction, handshakes, and a beer were the norm. While coronavirus seems to be here to stay, there is some good news.
The original strain and the deadly Delta variant are on their way out. And while Omicron has proven highly contagious, it has shown itself to be less deadly and less likely to send us to the hospital. However, it is still a risk for those of us, our loved ones, or our team who have preexisting medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, auto-immune dysfunction, and cancer. One of the things we need to know in the water business, and to educate our work and home families about, is the adverse connection between PFAS and COVID-19 symptoms. In fact, in a Dutch medical study, PFAS was found to elevate the severity and duration of COVID-19.
PFAS in public water is now under national and state regulation. This is a good thing. But some municipalities are slow to remediate or don’t yet have the infrastructure to do so. What’s more, because the EPA does not regulate private well water systems, there are a whole lot of people (workers, customers, loved ones) who don’t even know what PFAS is or that this immunotoxin in their water can elevate their COVID-19.
The PFAS COVID-19 Study
A peer-reviewed medical study1 concludes that, in addition to air pollution, the course of COVID-19 infection appears to be aggravated by industrial chemicals, including PFAS, which “are immunotoxic and may contribute to an association with disease severity.”
For their study, researchers obtained from Danish biobanks plasma samples of 323 subjects ages 30–70 with known SARS-CoV-2 infection. It was determined that PFAS was found concentrated in the blood plasma of study participants.
Although occurring in fairly low concentrations in plasma, the researchers found that measures of individual exposures to PFAS included short-chain PFBA known to accumulate in the lungs. And as we know, coronavirus is a virus of the lungs and overall respiratory system.
How You Can Help
Because we care about our business team and customers, and of course about our loved ones, educating ourselves and them about the PFAS-COVID connection is important. As members of the water industry, we are here to help everyone drink clean water and improve their quality of life as a result.
Check out the municipalities where your team/customers/loved ones reside and see if their water has been PFAS remediated. If so, all is well. If not, or for those you may know who get their water from non-public wells, introduce them to products and services in the industry that they can use to clean the PFAS toxin from their water as a stop-gap measure as municipalities and regulatory authorities catch up to the problem.
Water is something no one can live without. And clean drinking water can help us all live better lives in an era where coronavirus may be here to stay.
By Mark V. Wiley