Because firefighters have been occupationally exposed more to PFAS than the general population, knowing their PFAS blood levels can help in the study of this important issue.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has been measuring PFAS in American’s blood since 1999. “NHANES is a program of studies designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the health and nutrition of adults and children in the United States," reports a CDC document titled, "PFAS in the US Population."
According to the PFAS Community Campaign, health effects which have been linked to some PFAS include:
- Changed immune response
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Increased chance of cancer, especially kidney and testicular cancers
- Increased chance of thyroid disease.
“PFAS blood test results can only tell you the amount of PFAS in your blood at the time of the test. The test will not tell you if PFAS has affected your health or if it will in the future. PFAS blood testing is not a routine test. If you have been exposed to high amounts of PFAS and want or need to know the amount of PFAS in your blood, talk to your doctor," reports the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.
But, “Knowing PFAS blood levels helps to establish baseline exposure levels. Baseline testing could also lead to more definitive answers to health questions in the future. Currently, there is no established treatment for PFAS exposure," the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services adds.
The Foam Exposure Committee recommends that firefighters get their blood tested so they know their PFAS blood levels.