In this episode of Collaboratory Conversations, communications intern Sascha Medina spoke with Dr. Jamie DeWitt about her ongoing research on the health effects of PFAS, a group of over 12,000 man-made chemicals. Dr. DeWitt’s lab has found that across different classes of PFAS, all negatively impact the immune system.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” have been used in products such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing and more since the 1950s. PFAS do not break down and remain in the environment. They have been found in the blood of people and animals around the globe and can build up in concentrations over time.
Dr. DeWitt’s Collaboratory research was part of a large research initiative known as the PFAS Testing Network, which connected researchers to help the state of North Carolina gain a comprehensive understanding of PFAS. The initiative is made up of seven teams that each study different areas of PFAS. Dr. DeWitt is on the team that studies how PFAS affects human health. The NC PFAS Testing Network’s final report includes Dr. DeWitt’s research as well as the other teams’.
Listen to the podcast to hear more about her research, how to reduce exposure, Dr. DeWitt’s next research steps, and policy implications.
To learn more about how to reduce exposure to PFAS, these are the educational resources Dr. DeWitt mentioned in the episode: