PFAS chemicals found in the food supply

“The Food and Drug Administration found substantial levels of a worrisome class of nonstick, stain-resistant industrial compounds in some grocery store meats and seafood and in off-the-shelf chocolate cake, according to FDA researchers.”

“The US Food and Drug Administration confirmed that PFAS chemicals have made their way into the US food supply. On Monday, the FDA publicly acknowledged the initial findings of the agency’s investigation into how the “forever chemicals” have been detected in the foods we eat.”

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More media coverage. PFAS scares the bejeezuz out of me. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/12/us/pfas-chemicals-fast-food.html

The attention and awareness to it is welcomed and the response should be kept in perspective as well.

“There’s no easy way to shop around this problem,” Faber said. Yikes. I’m cynically relieved–no use worrying about my non-stick egg pan.

In the mid-1990s I worked as an engineer in a company that used a lot of fluorine-containing compounds to make garments that would resist both water-based and alcohol-based strikethrough. Most of these compounds were made by 3M and du Pont. Think ScotchGard and the like, but for industrial applications instead. Both companies were under pressure from the EPA to show that coated garments (ours were for surgical suite wear, but these also included children’s wear products) did not cause the wearer to uptake PFOAs.

3M set up an experiment where they had shaved rabbits wear garments that were coated and not-coated for control, and drew blood samples routinely to determine levels of PFOAs.

Both sets of rabbits exhibited considerable, and nearly identical, levels of PFOA in their blood.

Then they tested the rabbit chow. Bingo.

This stuff is everywhere, inescapable. If it’s dangerous, we’re screwed.

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The issues with non stick pans have more to do with PFAS released in manufacturing, and PFOS fumes released when cooking at high temperatures (known to kill birds), as opposed to PFAS leeching into the foods.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr