That chocolate cake won’t last forever, but the chemicals in it might

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. That is, unless by
“it” you are referring to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl
substances.

Researchers have long known that PFAS are pretty ubiquitous. The
so-called “forever chemicals” have been used in various types
of manufacturing including fire-fighting foams, non-stick products
such as certain types of food packaging. A recent study found that
an estimated 95 percent of the population has a detectable level of
PFAS in their blood. That’s bad news considering
the chemicals have been associated with serious health problems
including cancer.

Until now, the U.S. government concern with PFAS exposure has
mostly focused on contaminated drinking water. But as an FDA study
recently confirmed, certain food products may also be contributing
to your PFAS load.

The Food and Drug Association recently decided to test 91 common
food items for PFAS and 14 products came back positive. (They
presented their
findings
last month at an international environmental
conference in Helsinki, though the agency did not make the results
public at the time.) Supermarket staples like pineapple and leafy
greens were just some of the contaminated foods. In nearly half of
the meat and fish tested, PFAS levels were two or more times over
the current federal advisory level for the chemicals.

The worst culprit with — so sorry — chocolate cake with
chocolate frosting, which tested at levels 250 times higher than
the federal guidelines for PFAS in drinking water.

That news might seem concerning to chocolate lovers, but
Trump’s FDA doesn’t seem too concerned. On Tuesday, two top
officials at the FDA issued
a joint statement
that “based on the available current
science, the FDA does not have any indication that these substances
are a human health concern.” They added that the agency does not
consider the levels of PFAS found in the food samples tested to be
a food safety risk for humans.

But official risk or no, concern about PFAS amongst the public
is rising. About 610 locations in 43 states, have detected PFAS in
their drinking water, affecting an estimated 19 million people.
Drinking water PFAS contamination seems to be more common near
chemical plants or sites where fire-fighting foams containing the
compounds are used, Buzzfeed
reports
.

These man-made contaminants can easily migrate into the air,
dust, food, soil, and water, lingering in the body for years and
accumulating over time. What’s worse, they’re associated with a
plethora of adverse
health effects
from testicular and kidney cancer to thyroid
disease and high cholesterol.

PFAS are currently largely unregulated, but there has been
federal movement toward legislation to monitor and restrict their
use. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency
announced a
road map
to limit the compound’s spread in the water.
Impatient for federal action, several states have moved to regulate
the chemicals on their own: Maine, for instance, now
requires
testing of sewage sludge as a contamination
source.

But researchers emphasize that the issue is way more than just
water contamination or eating a slice of (contaminated) cake —
it’s a lifetime of exposure to these “forever chemicals” from
multiple sources.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline
That chocolate cake won’t last forever, but the chemicals in it
might
on Jun 12, 2019.

Source: FS – All – Food and Nutrition Blogs
That chocolate cake won’t last forever, but the chemicals in it might