National Academies Report Calls for Expanded PFAS Testing for People with Elevated Exposure

On July 28, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) published a new report entitled, “Guidance on PFAS Exposure, Testing, and Clinical Follow-Up,” that recommends PFAS testing should be offered to patients who likely have a history of elevated exposure. This report was developed by an ad hoc committee in response to a request by CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The NASEM committee was asked to develop principles for biological testing and clinical evaluation under uncertainty; review human health literature for PFAS; and characterize human exposure pathways and develop principles for exposure reduction.

The report focuses on PFAS that are currently monitored by CDC and recommends that the CDC should make updates to its guidance for clinicians to offer PFAS blood testing to patients who have had elevated exposure to PFAS. This includes actions for ATSDR to create educational materials for public health departments to support clinicians – to include information on PFAS exposure, potential health effects, the limitations of interpreting test results, and the pros and cons of testing. The report provides advice about PFAS testing, such as when to test, whom to test, how to test, what to test for, and the risks of testing. The recommendations in the report also include the need for:

  • Laboratories conducting PFAS testing to report the results to state public health authorities to improve PFAS exposure surveillance.
  • Clinicians to advise patients with elevated PFAS in their drinking water to filter their water and points to a database created by NSF International to help locate water filters that can reduce PFAS.

For more information and to download the report, visit the NASEM website.