Articles And Research

When Fresh Air is Not Safe Air

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Often referred to as ‘forever chemicals’, Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are among the most concerning Fluorinated Hydrocarbons (FHC) pollutants because they do not naturally break down in the environment. These concerns are compounded by the fact that PFAS have been linked to many health problems, including cancer, asthma, and diabetes. Every reader should be concerned because studies estimate 98% of people in the United States have PFAS in their blood. One of the ways people get PFAS into their bodies is by breathing polluted air. There are many ways PFAS get into the air. READ MORE.

Co-authors: Alyssa Middleton, Ph.D. & Maurice A. Ramirez, D.O., Ph.D.

Water Water Everywhere and Not a (Safe) Drop to Drink

In the words of the United States Attorney General Merrick Garland, “clean water is a right.” But is that right being protected? And how effective are those actions? Reports on the national news of a city or town facing a contaminated water crisis are all too frequent. Residents cannot use the water in their homes for cooking or bathing, let alone drinking. City and county-wide boil water orders lasting weeks to months have prompted the federal government to sanction, fine or even take control of municipal water departments in the interest of public safety.  However, even when the boil water orders are lifted and the community’s water is declared “safe,” another threat remains: PFAS (the abbreviation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance). READ MORE.

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Authors: Allison A. Sakara, NP, MSN, RN, PHRN & Mark Goldfeder, MS, NRP

The Danger Beneath Our Feet

The Danger Beneath Our Feet

In 2014, the United Nations declared December 5th as World Soil Day to raise awareness of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a determinant of human and animal health. Sadly, ignorance and disregard that have led to poor soil quality and dangerous soil pollution across the globe. PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) can be found throughout our environment in every community, park, school yard and the soil in which we raise our food.  In this article, we will review mechanisms for soil contamination and remediation. READ MORE.

Coauthors : Maurice A. Ramirez, DO, PhD and Alyssa Middleton, PhD

Toxic Food Chains and PFAS in Our Food Supply

Medical experts have asserted for years that a healthy diet is key to a long and healthy life. People worldwide work daily to maintain a proper diet, make the right choices, and strike a balance with regular exercise to stay healthy and productive. At the same time, farmers worldwide work tirelessly to cultivate their lands for crops and livestock to provide the best products to consumers. But all of these efforts are being thwarted by 4 simple letters – PFAS. READ MORE.

Toxic Food Chains and PFAS in Our Food Supply

Co-authors: Mark Goldfeder, MS, NRP & Allison A. Sakara, NP, MSN, RN, PHRN

A Pervasive and Persistent Environmental and Health Problem

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For more than 120 years, fluorinated hydrocarbons (FHCs) have been part of our world. The strength of the chemical bond between fluorine and carbon atoms in FHC compounds has led to the development of many products that are durable and resistant to other chemicals. Stain repellants, fire retardants, nonstick cookware, and coolants are a few examples of common materials made from FHCs. The same property that makes FHCs so valuable, however, is also what makes disposing of them so challenging. And understanding the biological activities, metabolism, degradation, and possible environmental hazards of FHCs will be the goal of this new series of articles. READ MORE.

Co-author: Maurice A. Ramirez, D.O., Ph.D. & Allison A. Sakara, N.P., M.S.N., R.N., P.H.R.N.

Bioaccumulation and the One Nature/One Health Impacts of PFAS

PFAS (per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances) chemicals, also known as ‘forever chemicals’, do not naturally break down in the environment. During the pandemic alone, over 3600 peer-reviewed scientific papers on the human health effects of PFAS were published despite the limitations created by the COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns. These articles demonstrate that the over 4000 PFASs are abundant, extremely persistent, and highly mobile in the environment.  READ MORE.

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Co-authors: Maurice A. Ramirez, DO, PhD and Alyssa Middleton, PhD

Bioaccumulation and the One Nature/One Health Impacts of Occupational PFAS

Occupational PFAS (per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances) chemicals pose a significant exposure threat to workers in many industries. The use of PFAS in building materials, cleaning supplies, protective equipment, uniforms, and personal items make occupational PFAS exposure inevitable in nearly every workplace. Our previous article in this series identified the One Nature/One Health impacts of PFAS and how these risks are magnified by bioaccumulation. Today we will discuss occupational PFAS exposure using the story of PFAS and firefighters as a cautionary tale. READ MORE.

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Coauthors: Mark Goldfeder, MS, NRP, and Maurice A. Ramirez, DO, PhD

PFAS and Your Health: Determining the Impact

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Determinants of Health are known environmental, social, behavioral, and societal factors that impact health and disease. These factors affect us all – as individuals and as groups - where we work, play, learn, worship, and live. When defining environmental determinants of health (EDH), the World Health Organization presents us with the view of an "intersection of environment and public health." Biological, chemical, and physical factors that surround us, along with our related behaviors, are the conditions that create EDHs. READ MORE.

Co-authors: Allison A. Sakara, NP, MSN, RN, PHRN, and Alyssa Middleton, PhD

Stop the Toxic Merry-Go-Round

More than 4,500 PFCs, also known as polyfluorinated compounds, have been a man-made source of toxicity for nearly a century. None of these compounds have been proven safe in our food, water, soil, or air. Each is merely another version of the same problem, with another brand name or abbreviation. Although a few have been removed from the market, this only applies to new manufacturing. READ MORE

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Co-authors: Allison A. Sakara, NP, MSN, RN, PHRN, and Alyssa Middleton, PhD

The Road Less Traveled: Remediating PFAS Pollution in Our Lifetime – Part 1

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Since their origin in the 1950s, PFAS (per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances) chemicals have been used in products from cooking spray to firefighting foam to pizza boxes. Originally invented to help repel water, heat, and grease, PFAS chemicals are commonplace in nearly everything we encounter in our daily lives. Once touted as "safe" by manufacturers, PFAS substances have been dubbed "Forever Chemicals" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – chemicals that do not break down easily or spontaneously. READ MORE.

Co-authors: Mark Goldfeder, MS, NRP, and Maurice A. Ramirez, DO, PhD

The Road Less Traveled: Remediating PFAS Pollution in Our Lifetime – Part 2

Current approaches to the large-scale remediation of environmental toxins and pollutants are burying, burning, and storing the offending material. While most chemical compounds require only a few decades to break down naturally, radioactive materials require centuries to decay and PFAS (per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances) chemicals take millennia. The challenges of removing (remediating) these "Forever Chemicals" that contaminate our air, water, soil, and food supply were the focus of Part 1 of this article. READ MORE.

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Co-authors:  Mark Goldfeder, MS, NRP, and Maurice A. Ramirez, DO, PhD

The Power of One

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By embracing the One Health, One Nature concept, we acknowledge and appreciate the interconnectedness of all creatures and all habitats. The well-being of every animal, plant, and person depends upon the unified health of the natural world. Hazards that threaten or impact the One Nature will be determinants of the One Health. In this article, we will reflect on our recent series dedicated to the many adverse effects of PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) as a vivid example of the One Health, One Nature model and how this leads to the next steps of All Hazards, One Framework. READ MORE.

Allison A. Sakara, Np, MSN, RN, PHRN

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