CDC Investigates Whether COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Is Decreased by PFAS Exposure

A letter addressed to Michigan State Representative Dan Kildee from Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is “assessing the intersection between PFAS exposure and COVID-19” by investigating whether exposure to these “forever chemicals” affects potential effectiveness and duration of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Healthcare workers and first responders are first under the CDC study. ATSDR will measure PFAS levels in participants to determine a link between PFAS in their blood and the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. The connection of PFAS levels and antibody response to the coronavirus will give insight into the impact of PFAS levels and the potential duration of vaccine protection.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl fluorinated substances called PFAS are dubbed “Forever Chemicals” due to the chemical bonds that hold the compounds together (about 5,000 substances) which never break down in the environment. For many reasons (including factory and facility discharge), PFAS have been found in drinking water throughout the United States. Over 1,400 communities in 49 states have detected PFAS in their drinking water, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This equates to roughly 110 million Americans drinking PFAS-contaminated water. PFAS can be found everywhere; they are in hundreds of products such as food-delivery containers and papers, nonstick cookware, stain-resistant clothing, carpets, furniture, fireproof items, clothes, cosmetics, personal care products, and so much more. Tiny doses of PFAS are linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system damage, weight gain, and a plethora of other diseases. It is estimated that PFAS are found in the blood of 99.9 percent of all human beings on earth, including newborn babies.

Some populations are at risk of being exposed to higher levels of PFAS than others, such as firefighters, military personnel, and communities with PFAS-contaminated drinking water or factories nearby. According to an analysis by the EWG, every organ is affected by PFAS exposure, but the immune system is especially vulnerable. Studies have shown a weaker response to tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations in adults.

Dr. Philippe Grandjean led the study on PFAS exposure and its relation to a diminished response to tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations. Recently, an article he wrote in The Guardian expressed fears regarding the possibility for people with high levels of PFAS to experience similar reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine. Grandjean said, “People with high exposure to PFAS have non-protective and very low antibody levels after four vaccinations for diptheria and tetanus. So if a vaccine for COVID-19 is similar, the PFAS will likely inhibit the response from a vaccine. But it is unknown at this stage.”

To learn more, read the full report from EWG. For an in-depth chemical analysis of your drinking water or to purchase a filter, contact the experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: