According to a private agency study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many potentially carcinogenic chemicals have been found in milk, meat, produce, and even store-made items like chocolate cake, reports The Hill.
The study was presented last week at a science conference in Helsinki. It found a class of chemicals, called PFAS, in a number of food products. PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they take a very long time to break down.
After various environmental groups leaked the results of the study to U.S. media outlets, the FDA confirmed the contents of the report, and said that it plans to publicly release the findings.
The PFAS chemicals in question are used in a great number of products, including food packaging. PFAS has been linked to kidney and thyroid cancer, as well as high cholesterol levels and other illnesses.
Some states have banned packaging made with PFAS, due to research that shows the chemicals can transfer to food items.
The FDA's research also showed that water contaminated with PFAS likely ends up in the food supply. 14 out of 91 samples taken contained the chemicals, and nearly half of all meat and seafood samples tested positive.
Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, which also released the study, criticized the FDA for holding back findings that add to a growing pile of evidence linking PFAS exposure to food.
"Clearly people are not going to stop eating chocolate cake with icing, but they have the right to know that high levels of PFAS are being found in everyday foods, and that's why it's so troubling that Americans had to go all the way to Helsinki to know what scientists have known for many years.”
PFAS chemicals have become a growing concern in the government. More bills involving the chemicals have been introduced this session than in any prior year.
However, despite bipartisan interest in dealing with this issue, the EPA and Pentagon have been reluctant to regulate the chemicals.
Legislation in both chambers includes measures that would require the EPA to set a PFAS standard for drinking water standard, establish deadlines to clean up PFAS contamination caused by the federal government, allow Superfund cleanup funds to be used to deal with PFAS contamination, ban new PFAS chemicals, and fund the clean-up of already-contaminated water.