Ground turkey, chocolate cake, kale — laced with a serving of toxic chemicals.
People across the country, including in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, are already grappling with the effects of drinking potentially harmful chemicals known as PFAS. Newly revealed research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration shows Americans are eating the substances, too.
Tests of produce, meat, and dairy from areas near known sites of PFAS contamination showed high levels of the compounds, which were used for decades in nonstick or stain-resistant products like Teflon and Scotchgard, and in industrial wares including firefighting foam.
The FDA said in its report that the contaminated food samples “are not likely to be a health concern,” but advocates and experts on Thursday said the tests were another cause for concern in a crisis they say federal regulators have not properly addressed.
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, are associated with cancers, thyroid disease, immune system problems, decreased fertility, and lower birth weight. Addressing contamination in drinking water, groundwater, air, and soil has become an urgent cause for many officials across the country and for a bipartisan group in Congress.
The FDA tested produce bought at farmers’ markets near a PFAS production plant and other food purchased in the eastern United States, as well as dairy products from a farm near an Air Force base in New Mexico. Many of the items contained levels of PFAS well above the Environmental Protection Agency’s current health advisory level for consumption in drinking water. There are currently no enforceable environmental or health standards for PFAS in the U.S.