Donating blood can save lives, but in the future, doctors may also prescribe rolling up a sleeve and exposing a vein for the health of certain donors.
Research from Australia published in 2021 suggests blood donations reduce the donor’s concentration of a class of toxic substances called “per- and polyfluoroakyl substances,” or PFAS, popularly called “forever chemicals.”
PFAS don’t really last “forever,” but they earned the moniker because some stay in the body for almost 10 years and accumulate in organs, blood and bones with repeated exposures. Recent research link PFAS to higher cancer rates, decreased birth weight, hormone disruption, elevated blood pressure and increased incidence of preeclampsia in pregnant women.
Firefighters are at higher risk of PFAS exposure due to the chemicals in foams and protective gear as well as in household products burned in fires.