July 13, 2020

Studies say people with high levels of PFAS in their systems could be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

John Wolfe doesn’t know what else he can do to protect himself against the coronavirus.

The Wilmington boat captain follows all of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. He wears a mask and requires tourists on his boat to do the same. He practices social distancing and washes his hands frequently.

But Wolfe, like thousands of others who live downstream of the Chemours chemical plant on the Cape Fear River, worries that he may be more susceptible to the coronavirus.

He has reason to be concerned.

Late last month, the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a report saying studies suggest that exposure to high levels of fluorinated compounds — commonly referred to as PFAS or “forever chemicals” — could suppress the immune system and increase the risk of getting COVID-19 and the severity of infection.

Studies have also shown that exposure to PFAS could reduce the effectiveness of childhood vaccines and adult flu vaccines.

The agency's report was followed by an opinion piece from some of the nation’s leading PFAS researchers, including Jamie DeWitt of East Carolina University. The article was published July 6 in Environmental Health News.

The complete article can be accessed here.

Cohen Milstein is Interim Co-Lead Counsel in this consolidated environmental toxic tort class action against E.I. DuPont de Nemours Company, and its former wholly-owned subsidiary, The Chemours Company.

Cohen Milstein’s team is led by Theodore J. Leopold, and includes S. Douglas BunchJamie Bowers and Alison Deich.