Cholesterol drug can lower PFAS levels in the body

Published 5 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
PFAS levels were reduced by 60% in those receiving the drug.

A cholesterol-lowering drug can remove PFAS chemicals from the blood, according to a Danish study. The drug reduced PFAS levels in the blood by up to 60%.

PFAS are synthetically produced substances found in everything from food packaging to hygiene products, some of which can be harmful to both health and the environment. The substances often leak into the environment, contaminating drinking water and animals. One example is the case in which residents of Kallinge in southern Sweden were recently awarded damages by the Supreme Court after they were found to have elevated levels of the chemicals in their blood that had been spread in water by firefighting foam.

A Danish study, published in Environment International, tested a treatment with cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering resin designed to bind PFAS molecules in the gut so that they are not absorbed into the bloodstream, but are removed from the body in the stool.

Benefits and risks

The drug was administered to 45 participants who had high levels of PFAS in their blood after eating meat from cows grazing on a beach meadow contaminated with firefighting foam from a nearby fire training school. It was found that PFAS levels were reduced by 60%.

However, more research is needed to determine the potential health risks before the treatment can be recommended.

– This is not a drug that affects only PFAS, but also other substances that the body may need. So you have to carefully weigh the benefits and risks before you can recommend something on a large scale, Axel Andersson, a doctor and Ph.D. candidate in occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Gothenburg, tells Swedish state broadcaster SR’s science radio program Vetenskapsradion.