June 4, 2019

PFAS Found In More Food Products

 |  By: Mike Opperman

The substance that caused a New Mexico dairy to shut its doors and euthanize its animals is being found in numerous food items, according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) findings reported in an Associated Press article

The FDA study looked for PFAS by sampling market-basket items bought in three undisclosed mid-Atlantic cities in 2017. 

PFOS, a variety of PFAS that has been phased out of production over health concerns, was found in tilapia, chicken, turkey, beef, cod, salmon, shrimp, lamb, catfish and hot dogs at levels ranging from 134 to 865 parts per trillion. Chocolate cake tested at 17,640 parts per trillion for another PFAS compound. The Environmental Protection Agency has established a nonbinding threshold of 70 parts per trillion for two phased-out PFAS compounds in drinking water. 

The FDA’s food-test results are likely to heighten complaints by states and public health groups that President Donald Trump’s administration is not acting fast enough or firmly enough to start regulating the manmade compounds.

“What this calls for is additional research to determine how widespread this contamination is and how high the levels are,” said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “We have to look at total human exposure — not just what’s in the water or what’s in the food ... or not just dust. We need to look at the sum totals of what the exposures are.”
“Drinking one glass of contaminated water is unlikely to be associated with health risks, as is eating one slice of contaminated chocolate cake,” said Jamie DeWitt, a toxicologist at East Carolina University who studies PFAS. “Individually, each item is unlikely to be a huge problem, but collectively and over a lifetime, that may be a different story.”
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