The federal government doesn’t seem to think PFAS contamination of our food supply is a concern, but independent testing from ANH-USA tells a different story. We need to act now to ban PFAS. Action Alert!
Independent testing conducted by ANH-USA has found kale samples purchased at grocery stores across the US to be contaminated with dangerous PFAS chemicals. ANH’s report builds on an increasing body of evidence telling us that the pervasive contamination of our world with PFAS chemicals is producing a public health disaster. The EPA and the FDA have demonstrated that they are not responding with the kind of urgency that is required to deal with this public health nightmare. We must act now to ban these chemicals.
For some time now, we’ve been sounding the alarm about the extensive contamination of the environment with PFAS chemicals and what that means for human health. PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of chemicals used in hundreds of consumer products. They are nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment and accumulate in blood and organs.
Up until the last few years, we thought PFAS was a contained problem you could protect yourself from by avoiding things like nonstick pans, fast food packaging, and microwaved popcorn. But in 2019, the FDA began very limited testing of PFAS in common U.S. food items and found what we believe are alarming levels of PFAS in certain seafood.
This led our staff at ANH to wonder: Are Americans really being told the truth about our levels of PFAS exposure is food?
We decided to test this question with a pilot study that found shocking results. ANH staff purchased organic and conventional kale from local grocery stores in New York (Stop & Shop), Pennsylvania (Weis), Georgia (Publix), and Arizona (Whole Foods). If PFAS were found in kale, one of the healthiest options available at the store, we would have a clear indication of the extent of PFAS contamination in our food supply.
We sent our local grocery store kale to be tested for PFAS, hoping to confirm what the FDA states on their website as of May 31, 2023, “we have found that most foods not grown or produced in specific geographic areas with known PFAS contamination do not have detectable levels of PFAS.”
Yet when ANH staff received the results of testing for PFAS in our kale, we saw that seven of the eight kale samples were contaminated with PFAS. The FDA’s routine monitoring between 2019 and 2021, which has so far only included analysis of 4 kale samples, has never found PFAS in any vegetable or other plant food. On its webpage, Questions and Answers on PFAS in Food, the FDA states, “To date, we have found that most foods not grown or produced in specific geographic areas with known PFAS contamination do not have detectable levels of PFAS.”
Our testing directly contradicts the FDA’s complacent attitude when it comes to PFAS contamination of our food supply, leaving serious questions about the agency’s assessment of the safety of our food.
The unfortunate truth is that the FDA and EPA – the very agencies that are charged with protecting our health and our environment – have largely turned a blind eye to the chemical companies that have spent decades hiding the horrific truth about the dangers PFAS chemicals as they continued to contaminate our environment, drinking water, soil, and our food. As a result of this decades-long coverup, we still don’t know the full extent of how bad PFAS are for us, but from the little we do know, it is clear that PFAS are killing Americans. As our report details, studies show that PFAS exposure is linked to an enormous number of frightening health effects, including:
- Infertility, birth defects, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure), low birth weight
- Developmental delays in children, including accelerated puberty, bone variations, behavioral changes and childhood obesity
- Cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast, testicular, prostate, liver and kidney cancers)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Decreased immune system response to infections
- Hormone interference, thyroid disease
- Obesity, increased cholesterol
So, what does this mean for you? We at ANH believe that, as a result of decades of chemical companies’ careless use of PFAS, it is now pervasive in our food, water, and environment.
U.S. regulatory agencies have proven themselves incapable or unwilling to meaningfully address the extensive PFAS contamination, and the piecemeal approach of individual state policies is positive, but it is not enough. We need to create a groundswell of grassroots support for a ban on PFAS chemicals as soon as possible.
Action Alert! Write to Congress, the EPA, FDA, and state legislators urging immediate action to ban PFAS chemicals. Please send your message immediately.