The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has quietly revealed some troubling information about a class of toxic chemicals that the agency found in significant levels in our food supply.
At a recent scientific conference, the FDA shared the findings of its first broad testing of food for a worrisome class of nonstick, stain-resistant industrial compounds called per- and polyfluoroalykyl substances, or PFAS.
The FDA has not made its findings public yet, but agency researchers discussed the results at a conference held by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry last week in Finland. The Environmental Defense Fund and the Environmental Working Group obtained the FDA presentation and provided it to The Associated Press.
Substantial levels of PFAS were found in grocery store meats and seafood and in off-the-shelf chocolate cake:
The levels in nearly half of the meat and fish tested were two or more times over the only currently existing federal advisory level for any kind of the widely used manmade compounds, which are called per- and polyfluoroalykyl substances, or PFAS.
The level in the chocolate cake was higher: more than 250 times the only federal guidelines, which are for some PFAS in drinking water. (source)
PFAS are found everywhere and are nearly impossible to fully avoid.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a wide variety of industries around the world, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals.
As of 2015, neither PFOA or PFOS chemicals are manufactured or used in the U.S., due to health and environmental concerns, according to the rules of the EPA's stewardship program for the substances, signed in 2006. But both chemicals persist in the environment because they don't degrade.