Harvard Study links PFAS exposure with worse COVID-19 outcomes

December 2020, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, conducted a study of COVID-19 patients and found elevated levels of a toxic chemical called perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) had an increased risk of more severe outcomes than those who did not.


PFBA is a man-made chemical known as a perfluorinated alkylate substances (PFASs) and has previously been known to suppress people’s immune system. PFBA, more than other PFASs, has shown to accumulate in the lungs from polluted air.


PFASs are used in a wide variety of products, such as non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foams.


The study states, “this study appears to parallel the findings in regard to other environmental toxicants, viz., air pollutants and suggest a need to ascertain the impact of relevant occupational or environmental exposures on COVID-19 severity.”


Findings suggest, further study is needed to determine if elevated exposures to other environmental immunotoxicants may worsen COVID-19 outcomes.

The study can be found here:

  1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/pfas-exposure-linked-with-worse-covid-19-outcomes/
  2. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244815