Background: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is interest in assessing if per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposures are associated with any increased risk of COVID-19 or its severity, given the evidence of immunosuppression by some PFAS. The objective of this paper is to evaluate at the ecological level if a large area (Red Zone) of the Veneto Region, where residents were exposed for decades to drinking water contaminated by PFAS, showed higher mortality for COVID-19 than the rest of the region. Methods: We fitted a Bayesian ecological regression model with spatially and not spatially structured random components on COVID-19 mortality at the municipality level (period between 21 February and 15 April 2020). The model included education score, background all-cause mortality (for the years 2015–2019), and an indicator for the Red Zone. The two random components are intended to adjust for potential hidden confounders. Results: The COVID-19 crude mortality rate ratio for the Red Zone was 1.55 (90% Confidence Interval 1.25; 1.92). From the Bayesian ecological regression model adjusted for education level and baseline all-cause mortality, the rate ratio for the Red Zone was 1.60 (90% Credibility Interval 0.94; 2.51). Conclusion: In conclusion, we observed a higher mortality risk for COVID-19 in a population heavily exposed to PFAS, which was possibly explained by PFAS immunosuppression, bioaccumulation in lung tissue, or pre-existing disease being related to PFAS.

Exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances and mortality for covid-19: A spatial ecological analysis in the veneto region (italy)

Catelan D.;Biggeri A.;Gregori D.;Pitter G.;Canova C.
2021

Abstract

Background: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is interest in assessing if per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposures are associated with any increased risk of COVID-19 or its severity, given the evidence of immunosuppression by some PFAS. The objective of this paper is to evaluate at the ecological level if a large area (Red Zone) of the Veneto Region, where residents were exposed for decades to drinking water contaminated by PFAS, showed higher mortality for COVID-19 than the rest of the region. Methods: We fitted a Bayesian ecological regression model with spatially and not spatially structured random components on COVID-19 mortality at the municipality level (period between 21 February and 15 April 2020). The model included education score, background all-cause mortality (for the years 2015–2019), and an indicator for the Red Zone. The two random components are intended to adjust for potential hidden confounders. Results: The COVID-19 crude mortality rate ratio for the Red Zone was 1.55 (90% Confidence Interval 1.25; 1.92). From the Bayesian ecological regression model adjusted for education level and baseline all-cause mortality, the rate ratio for the Red Zone was 1.60 (90% Credibility Interval 0.94; 2.51). Conclusion: In conclusion, we observed a higher mortality risk for COVID-19 in a population heavily exposed to PFAS, which was possibly explained by PFAS immunosuppression, bioaccumulation in lung tissue, or pre-existing disease being related to PFAS.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3387306
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