• 29 JUN 20
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    Air pollution, chemical exposures and increased susceptability and severity to COVID-19

    Comment: In the book, Corporate Ties That Bind published in 2017, Chapter 11 written by Gunni Nordstrom, is titled: Ignoring Chronic Illness Caused by New Chemicals and Technolology

    Although having no mention of viruses, Investigative journalist Nordstrom delves into how exposure to modern chemicals in our environment can cause illness.

    Now some 5 years later the world is grappling with COVID-19 with all sorts of wacky conspiracy theories, muddying the waters, so to speak.

    However, the possible role of environmental chemical pollution as a co-factor in susceptibility and illness severity is not to be dismissed, such as the evidence that suggests that people who smoke are at increased risk of more severe outcomes from COVID-19




    by Sharon Lerner in the Intercept


    ALMOST SIX MONTHS into the coronavirus pandemic, it”s already clear that environmental pollution is responsible for some portion of the hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths around the world. Now scientists are trying to pinpoint how exactly industrial chemicals make people more susceptible to the coronavirus and how much of the blame for the devastation wrought by the new coronavirus should be laid at the feet of the industry that produces those chemicals.

    Scientists have even managed to measure the precise harm that a single microgram/cubic meter increase in air pollution has on a population, which, according to researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is “an 8% increase in mortality from COVID-19.”

    While alarming, these findings aren”t surprising, according to Linda Birnbaum, the former director of the National Institutes for Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, who stepped down last year. “Everything in our health is determined by our environment,” she said.

    In addition to air pollutants, Birnbaum pointed to the potential for endocrine-disrupting chemicals to make people more vulnerable to Covid-19. Among them are BPA and its replacements; phthalates, which are found in makeup, nail polish, and plastics, particularly food packaging; and PFAS, a class of industrial contaminants most famously used to make Teflon and other nonstick products.

    While the research is underway, many of the people in highly polluted communities worry about the greater risk they may face during the pandemic. “I think about it a lot,” said Hope Grosse, a resident of Warminster, Pennsylvania, who developed stage 4 cancer while drinking water that had been contaminated with PFAS from firefighting foam used at a nearby naval base. “My immune system was definitely impacted.” Grosse, who had 25 lymph nodes removed during her cancer treatment, resumed her work as a realtor last month and wears gloves and a mask when she shows houses. “I”m as careful as I can be, but I still worry,” she said.

    Whatever we learn from the research now in the pipeline, some scientists say there is already enough evidence to lay blame for at least a portion of the toll of the virus on chemicals “” and their manufacturers.

    “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are clearly involved in driving the comorbidities and are heightening mortality risk from Covid-19,” said Pete Myers, founder and chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences. “You can”t hide from that truth.” Myers is one of several environmental scientists who have been pushing for more than a decade “” with little success “” for government to limit the use of these chemicals.

    “The American Chemistry Council has impeded our ability to develop meaningful regulations,” said Myers, referring to a powerful chemical industry trade group. “And the result of that is that these co-morbidities that have become epidemic over the last three decades. And now more people are dying than would have.”

    Read the full article here: https://theintercept.com/2020/06/26/coronavirus-toxic-chemicals-pfas-bpa/


    Understandably, the American Chemistry Council, the trade organization representing the interests the US chemistry industry, was not happy with the above article, and responded on June 26, 2020 with the following statement to the Intercept:

    Chemicals are essential to winning the fight against COVID-19 “” federal and state officials have unanimously made that point clear. ACC members produce critical ingredients for cleaning and disinfecting solutions, hand sanitizer, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment for frontline workers. Our industry is working tirelessly to continue to help save lives and stop the spread of the virus.

    The scientific community has a critical role to play in mitigating the spread not only of the virus, but of dangerous misinformation about its causes, effects, and potential treatments. Speculation about chemicals contributing to potentially adverse COVID-19 outcomes, this early in the pandemic, with absolutely no evidence, falls into the category of disinformation. We urge the public to be wary of individuals who seem all too quick to attach personal research interests and radical policy beliefs about chemical safety to this tragic pandemic.


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