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US News 'Forever chemicals' found in seafood, meats and chocolate cake, FDA says

Luke Skywalker

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Significant levels of chemicals linked to an array of health problems have been found in seafood, meats and chocolate cake sold in stores to US consumers, the Food and Drug Administration has found.

Toxic America

The levels in nearly half of the meat and fish tested by researchers were at least double the federal advisory level for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, a group of more than 4,700 synthetic chemicals used for a variety of industrial purposes.

Meanwhile, the FDA report found much higher levels in the chocolate cake, the Associated Press reported, with PFAS levels of more than 250 times the federal guidelines.

PFAS have been in production since the second world war and are most widely used to make non-stick cookware, food packaging, carpets, couches, pizza boxes and firefighting foam. The ubiquity of PFAS means they are found in virtually all Americans’ blood, as well as in the drinking water of about 16 million people in the US.

Public health groups have criticized the Trump administration for not acting more quickly to phase out the use of PFAS, with high levels of the chemicals on US military bases causing heightened concern and lawsuits in parts of the country.

Exposure to high levels of PFAS has been linked to cancers, liver problems, low birth weight and other issues.

The compounds have been dubbed “forever chemicals” because they take thousands of years to degrade, and because some accumulate in people’s bodies.

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier established a non-binding health threshold of 70 parts per trillion for two phased-out forms of the contaminant in drinking water.

The EPA has said it would consider setting mandatory limits instead after the toxicology report and after federally mandated PFAS testing of water systems found contamination. The administration has called dealing with PFAS a “potential public relations nightmare” and a “national priority”.

“I know there are people who would like us to move faster” on PFAS, the EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, said on Monday at the National Press Club. “We are addressing this much faster than the agency has ever done for a chemical like this.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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