Your food and drinking water could be contaminated with PFAS “forever chemicals”, at levels that are hundreds of times higher than what is considered safe, but the EPA is too busy looking out for industry to care. Action Alert!
PFAS contamination threatens the integrity of our food supply and is upending the lives of farmers. This is the latest outrage in what is quickly becoming a national crisis in which PFAS “forever” chemicals, linked to a variety of diseases, are polluting our waterways and our food—and regulators have just admitted that these chemicals are more dangerous than previously thought. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems determined to protect industry rather than enact meaningful standards to protect us from these dangerous chemicals. This has to stop.
Our food is contaminated with PFAS via the use of biosolids on farmland. Biosolids are a euphemism for sewage sludge, municipal sewage that has been processed to obtain clean water, leaving behind a concentrated sludge full of contaminants. This used to be dumped into the ocean until the practice was banned in 1988 because it was too toxic.
Biosolids are contaminated extensively with PFAS and are used extensively in agriculture. In fact, some estimate that as many as 5 percent of all crop fields could be using biosolids contaminated with PFAS. Low levels of PFAS have already been detected in vegetables, honey, dairy products, eggs, various meat products, and both bottled and tap water.
Even low-level exposures are dangerous because PFAS accumulate and persist in the body. In fact, the EPA just released new health advisories regarding PFAS in drinking water. The EPA previously suggested PFOA, a common PFAS chemical, be limited to 70 parts per trillion in drinking water; the new suggestion is 0.004 parts per trillion. We use the term “suggestion” because these levels are non-enforceable, and the EPA is still allowing companies to dump these chemicals in our water.
The consequences of PFAS contamination are very real. One Maine family found out that, before they bought their land, previous owners had fertilized using biosolids for years; the water they now drink contains 400 times more PFAS than what the state says is safe.
Citizens are starting to fight back to hold chemical companies accountable. A Maine class-action lawsuit alleges contamination of well-water with PFAS via the use of biosolids. Litigation with PFAS is expected to explode in the coming years. But recall that the EPA has adopted a narrower definition of PFAS that excludes thousands of chemicals; this will of course make it harder to hold chemical companies accountable in court—but then again, that is probably exactly what the EPA intended.
It is inexcusable that cronyism and inaction prevent the EPA from banning these dangerous chemicals at the federal level, or at the very least from setting a definition of PFAS that is more expansive rather than restrictive.
The EPA’s inaction on this issue is beyond comprehension. It’s time to protect the public from these dangerous chemicals.
Action Alert! Write to Congress and the EPA, telling them to ban PFAS chemicals. Please send your message immediately.