Dr. Elyse Watkins
Objective To review studies involving exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), possible associated or linked medical conditions to PFAS, and occupational exposures to PFAS to explore the challenges in medical surveillance for workers with occupational and nonoccupational exposures.
A literature review was conducted in PubMed, Google Scholar, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Articles written in English less than five years old using search terms included perfluoroalkyl, polyfluoroalkyl, PFAS, firefighter, and occupational PFAS were selected.
There are no occupational surveillance or universal exposure limits established for workers exposed to PFAS. PFAS is associated with kidney and testicular cancers, but an association between PFAS and other medical conditions have not been definitively established.
More research is needed to establish exposure limits for workers. Development of new PFAS substances, lack of transparency regarding PFAS substances in products, and the knowledge of the increased risk for conditions related to PFAS exposures are cause for concern.
Galvan KA. Challenges in Medical Surveillance for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Workplace Exposures. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2022; 4(4).
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