First PFAS "Forever Chemicals" Consumer-Initiated Blood Test with Physician Consult Launches on questhealth.com
SECAUCUS, N.J., Feb. 12, 2024
- Directed at individuals who may be at risk of elevated PFAS exposure, the new test detects and measures PFAS identified by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
- Organizations interested in workforce, community, and research population testing may also access the test
SECAUCUS, N.J., Feb. 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world's leader in diagnostic information services, today announced the availability of the first consumer-initiated, physician-ordered blood-draw test for PFAS chemicals with the option to confer over the phone with a physician about the results.
Available at questhealth.com, the new test, PFAS (Forever Chemicals) Test Panel, is performed by Quest Diagnostics to identify the level of potentially harmful chemicals called per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) – also known as "forever chemicals" because they can accumulate and linger in the environment and body.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health effects potentially associated with PFAS exposure include increases in cholesterol levels, decreases in birth weight, lower antibody response to vaccines, kidney and testicular cancer, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, and changes in liver enzymes.
"Scientists and the general public are increasingly aware that PFAS may be dangerous to human health, but access to quality, convenient testing to assess exposure is limited," said Jack Kain, PharmD, director and medical science liaison of Drug Monitoring and Toxicology, Quest Diagnostics. "Our PFAS blood test is based on the latest science and aligns with several facets of new CDC guidance as well as recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Not everyone needs a PFAS test, but people at high risk of elevated exposure may benefit from greater access to the insights provided by this novel test."
Testing may be right for people who likely have had elevated exposure to PFAS. These may include people who have been exposed to PFAS while on the job, such as firefighters, or who used a water supply near a commercial or industrial location, as well as those living near a facility that manufactures fluorochemicals or areas of documented PFAS environmental contamination.
The new test from Quest features several unique innovations. It is the first PFAS blood test available as a consumer-initiated test with physician consult to report a sum of PFAS chemicals based on level of health risks identified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The physician consultation, available to any individual who purchases the test, involves a telephone discussion between the individual and a third-party licensed physician about the results. In addition to providing personalized results, each easy-to-read test report includes information on ways to reduce exposure risk and can be shared with a personal physician.
The test is also widely available; individuals can visit most of Quest's approximately 2,100 patient service centers in the U.S. for a blood draw*.
In addition to offering the test to consumers, Quest is making the test available via B2B channels for organizations seeking workforce, community, or research-based testing for at-risk populations due to concerns about elevated PFAS exposures. The company plans to introduce a version of the test specifically for physicians to aid patient care later this year.
PFAS Testing Based on the Latest Science
In recent years, a growing body of science has revealed potential health risks of exposure to PFAS. In July 2022, NASEM recommended offering PFAS testing to patients who are likely to have a history of elevated exposure.
The Quest test aligns with several recommendations from NASEM on PFAS testing, including:
- Use of serum or plasma blood specimens (blood taken from an arm) instead of capillary blood specimens (from a fingerstick).
- Quantifying levels of several specific PFAS chemicals identified for potential health risks.
- Reporting the sum of those levels by three general risk categories.
According to NASEM, individuals whose results are in the third, or highest, category (levels of 20 ng/mL or above) may benefit from additional medical care, such as thyroid function testing and assessment of signs of kidney and testicular cancer. While most individuals have some level of PFAS exposure, an estimated 9% of Americans have PFAS levels of 20 ng/mL or higher, typically due to environmental or occupational exposure.
In January 2024, the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry unveiled updated guidance to help providers and patients consider PFAS blood testing, based largely on the NASEM recommendations.
PFAS are synthetic chemicals widely used in thousands of industrial and consumer products and which may enter the body through contaminated food and water. While there is no current medical treatment available to reduce PFAS levels, individuals can take steps to limit or reduce their exposure.
PFAS chemicals are associated with $22 billion in healthcare costs, according to a study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. Some individuals are at increased risk of prolonged exposure due to certain environmental and occupational factors. This includes firefighters, people living near industrial locations such as manufacturing plants, military bases, and airports, and those living in communities with known PFAS environmental contamination. According to the Environmental Working Group, more than 4,600 communities across the U.S. are at risk, as of August 2023.
Human health effects from exposure to low environmental levels of PFAS are uncertain. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to PFAS. Finding PFAS in an individual's blood does not mean that the levels of PFAS harmed the individual's health. For more information about PFAS chemicals see:
- CDC: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and Your Health.
- EPA: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).
Consumer-Initiated Testing with a Physician Consult
The PFAS (Forever Chemicals) Test Panel is available for individuals to purchase directly on questhealth.com. Unlike traditional direct-to-consumer tests, each test involves physician oversight and consultation on request with a licensed physician. Specifically, when an individual purchases a PFAS test online, a physician from PWNHealth, an independent, third-party physician network, will review the request and place an order. Once the order is submitted, an individual can schedule an appointment for a blood draw at a Quest Diagnostics patient service center. When testing is completed, results are provided in an easy-to-read report on a secure patient portal. An individual may then request a separate telephone consult with a PWNHealth physician to review the results. In addition, a PWNHealth care coordinator will actively contact any individual whose test results suggest elevated PFAS exposure (20ng/mL or higher) to recommend a physician consultation.
A Solution for Population Testing Public Health Departments, Employers, Military Sites, Municipalities, and other Organizations
Quest is also offering the PFAS test panel on a limited basis to organizations seeking to provide PFAS testing for workforce, community, research, and other population-based testing. For additional information about B2B testing program, interested parties may contact Quest Diagnostics at PFAStesting@questdiagnostics.com.
*PFAS blood testing does not identify the sources of a person's exposure or predict future health outcomes. This test assesses PFAS levels at the time of the blood sample collection. This PFAS test is not intended for use in the diagnosis of any disease or other conditions, or for use in the cure, mitigation, or treatment of any disease or condition. Only a physician can diagnose a health condition or outcome. This test is not appropriate for forensic use. Not available for purchase in AK, AZ, HI, or NY.
** In January 2024, the CDC provided new information on its website that recognizes the value of PFAS blood testing by a CLIA-certified laboratory. As knowledge and guidelines about PFAS ("forever chemicals") and PFAS testing continue to evolve, questhealth.com may update its test offering accordingly.
Quest, through questhealth.com, empowers consumers by making affordable, high-quality, trusted healthcare easy. With innovative tools, we give consumers more control over their own healthcare journeys and meet them where they are, supporting both consumers and their care teams. Our consumer-initiated test service allows people access to the same quality lab tests used by doctors and hospitals, providing the information and insights they need about their health. With more than 75+ lab tests available at questhealth.com, from general health profiles to tests for conditions ranging from heart health to sexually transmitted diseases, consumers can shop, schedule test appointments, and access results securely from a phone or computer.
About Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world's largest database of clinical lab results, our diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors and improve healthcare management. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and our nearly 50,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives. www.QuestDiagnostics.com
Quest® is the brand name used for services offered by Quest Diagnostics Incorporated and its affiliated companies. Quest Diagnostics Incorporated and certain affiliates are CLIA-certified laboratories that provide HIPAA-covered services. Other affiliates operated under the Quest® brand, such as Quest Consumer Inc., do not provide HIPAA-covered services.
1 Leonardo Trasande, Roopa Krithivasan, Kevin Park, Vladislav Obsekov, Michael Belliveau, Chemicals Used in Plastic Materials: An Estimate of the Attributable Disease Burden and Costs in the United States, Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 8, Issue 2, February 2024, bvad163, https://doi.org/10.1210/jendso/bvad163
View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/first-pfas-forever-chemicals-consumer-initiated-blood-test-with-physician-consult-launches-on-questhealthcom-302059409.html
SOURCE Quest Diagnostics