PFAS

Study: Food and beverage products contain high levels of PFAS, the “forever chemicals”, in their food and drinks.

According to a recent study, large quantities of PFAS, or ‘forever chemicals,’ were found in white rice, eggs and red meat.

The research, published on Elsevier’s Science Direct site, looked at dietary sources for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemical) and found that high levels were present in breast milk and blood samples collected from over 1,500 US mothers living in New Hampshire since 2009.

The PFAS group includes perfluorooctane (PFOS), PFOA (perfluorooctanoate), PFNA0 (perfluorononanoate) and PFDA (perfluorodecanoate).

These chemicals are found in air, surface and groundwater, consumer products, food packaging, and indoor dust.

The study showed that for every one SD increase in servings/day of eggs, the participants consumed, there was a 4.4% rise in PFOS in their bloodstream. There were also increases in PFOA, PFDA, and PFOA concentrations.

A similar increase was also found among those who ate large quantities of red meat, white rice, coffee, and seafood.

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The authors stated that the results could be used for developing dietary interventions to reduce the exposure of mothers and children to PFAS during pregnancy.

In earlier studies, it was found that PFAS consumption can increase the risk of developing certain health conditions, such as thyroid problems, liver and renal failure, cancer and other adverse effects.

The placenta can also be used to transmit PFAS from mother to fetus during pregnancy, and even through breast milk.

The food and beverage industry faces a significant challenge with Forever Chemicals, yet many companies remain reluctant to discuss the issue. Last Year and Just Food contacted a number major food companies about the issue. Only two responded, Nestle and General Mills, stating that they adhere to the necessary regulations in order to ensure the safety of their products.

BPAs are another forever chemical that has recently attracted a lot of attention in Europe. In a report released in September, it was found that up to 100 percent of Europeans are likely to have the hormone-disrupting chemicals.

This chemical compound can be found in water bottles, food containers made of plastic or metal and drinking water pipes.

In countries like France, the use of BPAs is illegal since 2015. Some companies have found ways to avoid reformatting their packaging despite the regulations. The French investigative news website L’Informe reported in January that Bonduelle, Unilever and other companies were facing fines because they allegedly colluded to conceal the continued use BPAs.

The EU member states supported a new proposal last month to prohibit the use of BPAs on packaging. After a “scrutiny” period, the European Parliament and Council will enact this law later in the year.

The US announced in 2022 that it would ban the use PFOS, PFOA and other chemicals after research linked chronic diseases such as liver disease and cancer to the chemicals.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced earlier this year that grease-proofing products containing PFAS will no longer be available in the US. The group plans to test the PFAS levels in “general food supplies” nationwide until next year to assess the consumer’s exposure.