PFAS clinical study

PFAS clinical study

A randomised controlled trial examining the effect of blood and plasma donation on serum per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) levels in Metropolitan Fire Brigade staff.


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse group of compounds resistant to heat, water, and oil. Perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are the most prominent and commonly detected PFAS. For many years, they have been used in hundreds of industrial applications and consumer products such as carpeting, apparel, upholstery, food paper wrappings, firefighting foams and metal coatings.

According to the US EPA, PFAS have been found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood samples of the general U.S. population, because they tend to persist long-term in the environment and in the body.

Firefighters are known to have a higher than average exposure to PFAS through occupational exposure. Reduction of serum PFAS levels via blood and plasma donation may be a mechanism to lower the body burden of these persistent compounds, which may reduce potential future health impacts.

The purpose of the study is to determine if regular blood donation (either whole blood or plasma donation) will be effective in reducing circulating serum PFAS levels.

Who is conducting the study?

This study is conducted by Macquarie University and led by Dr Robin Gasiorowski, Consultant Haematologist, MQ Health & Concord Hospital and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University.

Chief Investigators:

  • Prof Mark Taylor, Dept of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science & Engineering, Macquarie University, Sydney
  • Dr Miriam (Miri) Forbes, Research Fellow at Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University
  • Associate Prof Merrole Cole-Sinclair, Head, Laboratory Haematology, Pathology, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

There is also an advisory panel from national and international experts in epidemiology and exposure to PFAS chemicals.

Ethics Approval and registration in ANZCTR

This study has been approved by Macquarie University Human Research Ethics Committee (Medical Sciences).

The study is registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) - registration number: ACTRN12619000204145

Join the study

To join the study please email to register your interest.

You will then be contacted by the study coordinator Gab Silver to book in with St Vincent’s GPs, in either Fitzroy or Brunswick, to complete consent paperwork and have initial blood tests.

Note: Whilst you can register your interest by email, formal consent to the study must be done in person by the allocated GPs.

Contact us

If you wish for further information, do not hesitate to email:

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