Organofluorine Accumulation

I highly recommend that everyone read these two articles:

  1. The New York Times Magazine, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare
  2. The Huffington Post, “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia: Home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history

They’re both brilliant exposés about DuPont’s dumping of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) into the groundwater and land of Parkersburg, West Virginia. They reveal corporate malfeasance, regulator ineptitude, health risks, and environmental degradation that everyone should be aware of.

I also wrote an article that was published in Collective Evolution on the topic of organofluorine compounds like PFOA and how they affect our health – “Fluorine-Based Toxins Accumulate In The Body & Cause Multiple Health Problems.” You should read (and share) it too. 🙂

The articles listed above aren’t directly about fluoroquinolones. However, I suspect that they are connected to fluoroquinolones, and fluoroquinolone toxicity.

Both the chemical noted in the articles, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, aka C8), and fluoroquinolones, are organofluorine compounds–meaning that they are composed of a carbon-fluorine bond. That fact alone does not mean that fluoroquinolones have the same consequences as perfluorooctanoic acid, but it does mean that similarities should be examined.

Organofluorine Bioaccumulation

The most worrisome aspect of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) – man-made types of organofluorine compounds, like PFOA, that are used in many non-stick consumer products including cookwear and carpeting – is that they, essentially, never biodegrade. They stay in our bodies, and the environment, indefinitely, because there are no mechanisms in our bodies (or in the environment) to break them down.

Per the article, “Human detoxification of perfluorinated compounds:”

“it appears that most PFCs may be re-absorbed and returned to the liver through the enterohepatic circulation where the cycle of biliary excretion and re-absorption recommences repeatedly. In addition, there is increasing evidence in the literature that persistence in the body may also result from impaired renal excretion of some PFCs due to renal tubular re-absorption mediated through organic anion transporters.”

Additionally, PFCs accumulate in the environment and work their way up the food chain. They get absorbed into plants, then absorbed by the animals that eat the plants, then absorbed by the animals that eat those animals, until they are highly concentrated in the animals at the top of the food chain (us).

Do fluoroquinolones, or fluoroquinolone metabolites (specifically organofluorine metabolites), also stay in the body indefinitely–getting recycled and re-absorbed through enterohepatic circulation? Do they bioaccumulate indefinitely like PFCs?

Tolerance Thresholds for Fluoroquinolones

If fluoroquinolones (or their metabolites) bioaccumulate, it would make sense of some aspects of fluoroquinolone toxicity.

First, there appears to be a tolerance threshold for fluoroquinolones. People can tolerate fluoroquinolones well until they reach their personal tolerance threshold, at which time they get “floxed.” Some people are devastated by a single prescription of fluoroquinolones, while other people can tolerate several prescriptions before they get obliterated by fluoroquinolone toxicity. Personally, I was fine after my first exposure to ciprofloxacin in 2010–it was only after my second exposure in 2011 that I had an adverse reaction. (Of course, it should be noted that some people never reach their tolerance threshold and never experience getting “floxed.”)

Likewise, there appears to be a tolerance threshold for PFC exposure. People don’t get cancer, or colitis, or have children with birth-defects, after a single time cooking with a Teflon pan. Exposure to PFCs at high doses is necessary for their ill effects to become apparent. However, because of bioaccumulation, repeated small exposures (say, a decade of cooking in non-stick pans while living in a house with PFC-coated carpets) can lead to levels of PFCs in one’s body that are high, and can lead to negative health outcomes. That’s what makes the bioaccumulation situation so frightening–we all have PFCs in our blood* and every time we’re exposed to more, the toxic burden on our body increases.

Could our tolerance threshold for fluoroquinolones not only be a tolerance threshold for FQs, but also our tolerance threshold for all sources of organofluorine compounds (fluorinated pharmaceuticals, non-stick consumer goods, pesticides, etc.)?

Could the people who get “floxed” be the people with already high levels of PFCs who get pushed over the toxic edge by fluoroquinolones? Or, are the people who have adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones those who are particularly bad at metabolizing and eliminating organofluorine compounds / really good at holding onto and recirculating those toxins? Certainly, there must be some factors that differentiate those who suffer from adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones from those who don’t. There are any number of potential environmental and genetic factors, and maybe bioaccumulation of organofluorine compounds is a factor that should be considered (levels of PFCs and bioaccumulation may be due to a combination of both environmental and genetic factors).

The notion of a tolerance threshold for fluoroquinolones is reinforced by the cross-reactivity between fluoroquinolones. Once a person has an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone, all fluoroquinolones (not only the one they reacted badly to) are contraindicated for that person. This cross-reactivity may, or may not, have to do with an accumulation of organofluorine compounds or their metabolites (please keep in mind that there are other mechanisms for the cross-reactivity phenomenon).

Though bioaccumulation of toxins (including, but not limited to organofluorine compounds like fluoroquinolones and PFCs) is a problem that needs examination, I don’t think that the situation is hopeless for those who carry a high burden of toxins. Lifestyle changes may be necessary to avoid toxins and pollutants, and our natural cleansing organs may need to be supported a bit (through diet, supplements, etc.), but there is plenty of evidence that healing from fluoroquinolone toxicity is possible, and despite all the pollution in Parkersburg, WV, there are still some healthy people there. Bioaccumulation of toxins is frightening, for sure, but though our bodies are not well equipped to deal with organofluorine compounds, we do have detoxification and healing mechanisms that are helpful.

Years of Poisoning and Pollution

DuPont first started using PFOA in 1951. Internal documents reveal that they knew that PFOA was toxic at that time, yet they still used it in consumer products and disposed of it improperly. It wasn’t until 2011 that independent scientists, “began to release their findings: there was a ‘probable link’ between PFOA and kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, pre-eclampsia and ulcerative colitis.” It wasn’t until 2016 that major news organizations like The New York Times and The Huffington Post began to publish articles about PFOA. Additionally, if you read “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” you will note just how many things fell into place for the news of the toxicity of PFOA to reach the public.

How long will it take for fluoroquinolone-injury lawsuits to prevail, for studies examining whether or not fluoroquinolone-use is connected to the many diseases of modernity, and for major investigative journalism pieces to be completed? How long will it take for fluoroquinolone toxicity to reach public consciousness and for systems to change? As far as I know, no one is even looking at whether or not toxic fluorine metabolites are formed by fluoroquinolones, or whether or not they bioaccumulate like PFCs. Though there are hundreds of articles about the harm that fluoroquinolones do to cells (especially to mitochondria – BTW organofluorine metabolites like fluoroacetate and fluorocitrate wreak havoc on mitochondria. Unfluorinated quinolones may too though, so keep that in mind.), the only researcher who I know of who is even making steps toward connecting fluoroquinolone-use to the chronic, multi-symptom diseases of modernity is Dr. Golomb with The Fluoroquinolone Effects Study. I hope that more researchers study the many aspects of fluoroquinolone toxicity (mitochondria damage, mineral depletion, neurotransmitter dis-regulation, microbiome damage, thyroid damage, endocrine disruption, organofluorine metabolite accumulation, etc.) and that the questions raised in this post, and throughout this site, are answered.

Maybe we truly are canaries in the coalmine–warning everyone about the dangers, not only of fluoroquinolones, but of all fluorinated drugs, and also for the accumulated organofluorine compounds in our environment. It’s certainly a hypothesis that should be looked at. I would hate for 65 years of organofluorine compound metabolite accumulation to occur because of fluorinated drug use before an examination even takes place. After all, the toxicity of other organofluorine compounds is well-documented, so I’m not sure why fluorinated drugs are assumed to be safe. Fluoroquinolones certainly aren’t safe, and they need to be researched much more thoroughly.


I have neither the resources nor the expertise to know whether or not adverse reactions to fluorinated drugs, like fluoroquinolones, are related to the buildup of PFCs in our bodies and our environment. There are some aspects of fluoroquinolone toxicity that make more sense when it is noted that bioaccumulation is possible. Given that fluoroquinolones have a fluorine-carbon bond, and that other organofluorine compounds have been shown to bioaccumulate and wreak havoc on health, I think it’s something that should be explored.

Regardless of whether or not fluoroquinolones contribute to organofluorine load, we should all be concerned about PFCs in our bodies and our environment. Bioaccumulation of PFCs is going to make the problem worse and worse as time goes on. As chemical producing corporations like DuPont blatantly lie as they shift from one organofluorine pollutant to another, claiming that the current one is safer than the proven-toxic past ones–even though it’s not, more and more PFCs will accumulate. The potential detrimental effects of accumulated PFCs to our personal and collective health are yet to be determined. I suspect that health outcomes for humans, and all the other animals on the planet that are exposed to these compounds, will get worse and worse as time goes on and as they bioaccumulate. Perhaps I’m a pessimist though, and the consequences of organofluorine compounds in our environment won’t be as dire as I fear. We, or our children or grandchildren, shall see. Surely, future people will look back at this time and think that we are all fools for letting unregulated, greedy, corporate giants like DuPont release permanent, harmful pollutants into the world simply so they could make millions on non-stick pans and stain-resistant carpets. What a sad, sad, state of the world.


* “C8 was being detected everywhere—produce and beef in American grocery stores, polar bears in the Arctic, children in the remote Faeroe Islands. One analysis of blood banks from around the world showed that nearly all of the blood contained C8. The lone exception was a set of archived samples that had been collected from Korean War veterans before 1952.” (Source)


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9 thoughts on “Organofluorine Accumulation

  1. Suzanne Eddo January 21, 2016 at 11:56 am Reply

    Confirmed my suspicions…I’ve been looking at getting stainless cookware…ugh 😞

    Suzanne Sent from my iPhone


  2. Jason January 21, 2016 at 9:21 pm Reply

    Glad to see you are really digging into this now, even Rene has come around on Fluoride apparently, and speaking of which, do NOT discount the “Fluorides” what-so-ever, every single source of Fluorine AND Fluoride (which is a source of Fluorine) is bad, related, and can cause Floxies more problems, keep digging!

  3. Linda January 23, 2016 at 12:37 am Reply

    You mention the possibility of bio-accumability (?) for FLQ. In addition of course to drinking a LOT of fluoridated water in my life (thinking how healthy I was by drinking vast quantities of water) but also decades on asthma drugs, all of which have fluoride in them, as do many drugs. I also was on prednisone several times, so It seems like it would be difficult to discern exactly which the culprit is, but I am guessing I was hit hard because of all of the above.

  4. Janine Allio January 26, 2016 at 1:44 pm Reply

    Dear Lisa, your email to me a couple months ago was so comforting and now let me see I was given Cipro in July and then in researching I discovered I was given Cipro also and November the year before I read somewhere in one of your emails that a double dose is more intense so now I broke down and I went on Pregnesone which is really a bad for my already fried adrenals. I’m off that and the aches are getting worse and worse I can’t fasten my bra I can’t lift my arms higher then my bosom level and it’s really scary I was always so active and not being able to bend my knees much or get down on my knees or go on the floor is just really upsetting so finally I found a Doctor Who is a DO and is a Homeopathic dr and I am hoping he will assist. The good news is on January 17 for the first time in two years I started doing my art they decoupaging gourds and making cards and I noticed that my attitude change and the fear I had to even go and do simple things suddenly were possible. I pray this will continue and that I will then have some years of creativity and giving back. In the middle of the night instead of negative thoughts I now have creative ideas, yes!

    Bless you, please respond, ❤️💜💛💚💙 Janea

    Sent from my iPad


  5. Debs February 1, 2016 at 2:41 pm Reply

    I am still extremely bemused as regards to aspects of my own floxing story when we take the biocumulative & cross reactivity effect into consideration, as to why, after I had a very damaging first floxing when I was then prescribed them not once but twice more, according to my medical records, I apparently had no noticeable reaction to them whatsoever . This does not tie in at all with ‘ the next time will be worse scenario ‘ , Invariably people when prescribed a fluoroquinolone again after being floxed particularly after seriously floxed will react the next time prescribed them, but I for some reason was able to tolerate not one but two subsequent courses before I was again hit ‘ I just am so frustrated that I cant work out why this happened. I am of course so grateful I was not damaged more, but I do find this situation so very puzzling & think about it often

    • Lisa Bloomquist February 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm Reply

      Hi Debs,

      Another friend of mine has a similar story to yours. He was hurt the first time he took Cipro, but he didn’t connect his condition to the drugs. He went on to take it, and other FQs, multiple more times and didn’t react badly to them at all until recently, when a round of Cipro severely “floxed” him. I really don’t know what to think of his, or your (similar), situation. It perplexes me beyond belief. Truly – WTF? Is it bad batches that hurt us? Is there some strange interaction that only happens during certain hormonal cycles? It’s really strange.

      Unfortunately, this makes it even more unlikely that studies will show results similar to what people are experiencing in the world. As if delayed reactions and tolerance thresholds didn’t make this difficult enough – now we have to add randomness to the mix. Sigh.


    • taragodard May 12, 2020 at 8:34 am Reply

      Thanks for your continued research. There is now a movie about the lawyer and PFOAs called Dark Waters. Very good movie.
      I did get fluoride poisoned after taking fluoroquinolones and am now hypersensitive to tiny amounts. Fluoride Research Collaborative is a good site for those who want to learn to stay away from fluoride. Also, the Fluoride Action Network has alot of info and is currently sueing the EPA for dumping fluoride and fluoride compounds in the water – many studies show how detrimental this is too human health. Currently, the trial date is June 2020 if it does not get pushed back again.

      • L May 12, 2020 at 10:05 am Reply

        Yes the fluoride dumping is insane. WE are one of the last major countries to continue to add fluoride to our water, on the lie it helps prevent cavities. The original study was cherry picked to justify the aluminum manufacturing waste (and atomic weapon production) being dumped. Some Naturally occurring fluoride was one of many substances found in water in an area where there were few cavities, so they promoted the whole “fluoride is good for you” based on that. (A recent Harvard study even linked fluoride to low IQ in children.)

  6. Heyr March 14, 2016 at 6:38 pm Reply

    I am glad someone is reporting these important messages. I feel my family has been effected by these fluoroquinolones. I have a parent and sibling with inflammatory bowel disease and wish more research would be put forth on these pressing medical issues. Especially when there is such a global effect from bad combinations of drugs; It seems that the pharmaceutical industry is failing to establish true concern for the well being of society. I too was given many cipro ear drop as a young child; later finding them to be probable causes of, anxiety, vertigo, back pain, restlessness, and numbness.

    I thank you for your work and would like to invite others to brainstorm ideas to raise awareness for floxies, and to help heal those effected by researching ways to heal.

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