Blood donations can save lives. Researchers have found that regular trips to the blood bank appear to reduce the amount of certain chemicals in the bloodstream.
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances are sometimes referred to as forever chemicals because they tend not to degrade in nature.
The firefighters who donated blood over the course of a year were tested by the researchers. Firefighters have higher levels in their blood than the general population because of their exposure to firefighting foam.
The results from the study show that both regular blood or plasma donations resulted in a significant reduction in blood PFAS levels compared to the control group.
While both interventions are effective at reducing PFAS levels, plasma donations were more effective and correspond to a 30 percent decrease.
It is the first time that a way of reducing PFAS in the blood has been found, and it is all down to an act of charity that benefits society.
95 firefighters gave blood every 12 weeks, 95 firefighters gave blood every 6 weeks, and 95 firefighters didn't make any donations. The latter group's levels of PFAS remained the same.
Reducing the amount of the blood component can reduce the levels of PFAS. It is early days for the research, and a lot more analysis is needed.
While this study did not examine the health effects of PFAS or the clinical benefits of its reduction in firefighters, these important questions are worthy of further research to better understand health outcomes from exposure and treatment.
The problem for firefighters is not the only one. They can be found in everything from paints to pans, and have been linked to health problems such as diabetes and cancer.
Some of the most remote places on Earth are also being reached by these chemicals. We need to know more about what we are dealing with because these substances will be around for a long time.
The first results are promising, and the next step is to run tests on more diverse groups to see if there are any groups who might benefit most from the blood and plasma donation processes.
The results of the research can be used to improve the health of firefighters who have acquired high levels of PFAS through community work, says Mick Tisbury, assistant chief.
It is important to recognize the firefighters who volunteered their time to participate in the study. The findings will benefit the firefighting community and others who are exposed to the chemicals.
The research has been published.