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Australian National University Releases Study Linking PFAS to Increased Levels of Psychological Distress | King and Spalding

Researchers from the Australian National University have published a “PFAS Health Study”, commissioned by the Australian government, which investigates several potential health effects of PFAS in three Australian communities with known environmental contamination from PFAS – Katherine in the Northern Territory, Oakey in Queensland and Williamtown in New South Wales. The study was conducted using focus group discussions, blood tests for serum PFAS concentrations and biochemical health markers, a survey of PFAS exposure history, and data linkages to examine perinatal outcomes, child development, and outcomes related to cancer and cause-specific mortality. The study found evidence of elevated levels of PFAS among residents and workers in all three communities. The study began with a review of the literature in which the researchers identified some possible associations between PFAS and high cholesterol, as well as impacts on kidney health, kidney cancer and testicular cancer, and an effect on responses to certain vaccines. However, the study only identified high psychological distress in the study groups as well as elevated serum cholesterol concentrations. The study demonstrated no causal link between PFAS and other studied health outcomes (kidney health, kidney cancer and testicular cancer, and vaccine effectiveness).