• Home/
  • News/
  • How an 80’s hit song puts the finger on my PFAS blood test results

How an 80’s hit song puts the finger on my PFAS blood test results


How an 80’s hit song puts the finger on my PFAS blood test results

Published on 06 Oct 2022

“You’re poison, running through my veins”. The 80’s hit song from Alice Cooper immediately started playing in my head when I saw the results…

A couple of weeks ago, twelve of us working at ChemSec tested our blood for PFAS. I had just started working in the organisation and thought this was the ChemSec equivalent of an employee drug test or something. But this was not the case. It was actually the first time ever the organisation had done it.

Even though I was aware of the fact that most people nowadays have PFAS in their blood, I really believed that I didn’t, that in some miraculous way I had been able to dodge this problem. Unfortunately, I’m not as special as my mom always tells me… or maybe I am. It turns out I have the highest level of PFAS in the whole office.

All of us that tested our blood have PFAS in our bloodstreams, no exceptions. And nine out of twelve have levels that exceed the guideline value of 6,9 ng/mL set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

“I have 11.3 ng/mL PFAS running through my veins”

The average PFAS level among ChemSec employees is 7,1 ng/mL. While the majority of my colleagues find themselves in more or less the same range — I do not. As the top scorer in the office, I have 11.3 ng/mL PFAS running through my veins.

When I found out, my first feeling was a strange sense of shame. Like I had led an unhealthy life and that this was the price I had to pay. This really puzzled me because I thought I was doing OK — pretty well even. I exercise regularly, I stay away from red meat… I even down a foul-tasting green smoothie from time to time!

Why I have such high levels of PFAS in my blood, I don’t know. Maybe the drinking water in my home town have had high levels of PFAS or perhaps I’ve eaten straight out of a non-stick pan too many times in the past. Maybe the fishes in the Baltic Sea are to blame, I don’t know.

“There’s a chance you may score just as poorly as me”

I’m not sure I will ever find out the reason behind my high PFAS levels. But what I do know is that these PFAS chemicals linked to infertility, cancer and immune system disorders are everywhere and almost impossible to stay away from.

They’re used in countless products for a bunch of different purposes and found all over the globe — even in the most remote places of the Antarctic. And now also in the bloodstream of the Sustainable Finance Advisor at ChemSec.

When your read this text, you might think “Too bad for him, I’m glad I don’t have such high levels of PFAS in my blood”. Although I thank you for your sympathy, I hate to break it to you; there’s a chance you may score just as poorly as me.

When zooming in on each single PFAS-chemical that we tested, my levels are actually below that of the average person according to this large meta-analysis. And a recent biomonitoring study of European teenagers found they have very high levels of PFAS in their blood. In fact, the average Swedish teenager has a higher PFAS level than I do with 12,3 ng/mL.

Although the Alice Cooper song Poison is about dangerous love, the line “you’re poison, running through my veins” could today be sung in a very literal sense by every individual on Earth. Industrial man-made PFAS chemicals have found their way into every single human bloodstream and, due to the bioaccumulative nature of PFAS, these levels will keep rising.

Until we turn off the tap.

Patrik Witkowsky
Sustainable Finance Advisor