Well, after last week’s catalogue of disappointments, it seems as if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally gone ahead and done something right for a change.
Unfortunately, though, that’s the best I can say about today’s topic. Because for as reassuring as it is to see the agency actually performing its duties and sniffing out public health threats, the results of their latest investigation are anything but.
For the first time ever, the FDA tested grocery store items for a toxic class of industrial chemicals called polyfuoroalkyl substances, or PFASs. And let’s just say that they didn’t have to look far to find them.
Killer cake and lethal greens
We’ve talked about PFASs before, but let me refresh your memory: These manmade chemicals were introduced to our world 60 years ago. You’ll find them in non-stick cookware, food packaging, carpets, furniture, and waterproof coatings.
Because they take such a long time to break down, they remain in the environment—and ultimately, in your body—for years. And that’s a real problem, because it just so happens that PFASs have established links to a long list of chronic diseases, including cancer.
So brace yourself—because the news here gets worse…
Back in the fall of 2017, the FDA ordered testing for 16 different types of PFASs in 91 different food products—including fruits, vegetables, meats, milk, and baked goods—all purchased at various Mid-Atlantic supermarkets.
And get this: A sample of chocolate cake with chocolate icing yielded the highest level of PFASs—to the tune of more than 17,600 parts per trillion (ppt)! (For reference, the Environmental Protection Agency’s human lifetime health advisory level is only 70 ppt—which is 70 ppt higher than it should be, in my opinion.)
To contain levels so dangerously high, the cake had to have been contaminated by its very own packaging. But, surprise! The company never even reported that they were using the chemicals, despite being obligated to do so.
And the findings don’t stop there. Ground turkey, tilapia and meat all contained their fair share of PFASs, too—and a chemical called perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in particular. (At one point, PFOS was the main ingredient in ScotchGard and firefighting foams. It has since been banned, but it’s still widely used in China—our top importer.)
The FDA also found PFASs in lettuce, collards, cabbage and kale. The leafy greens with the highest levels all came from farms within ten miles of a polluted chemical plant.
Plus, PFASs turned up in milk and cheese. And of course, we already know it’s hiding in human breastmilk, too. It’s truly frightening—but we really couldn’t escape these chemicals even if we wanted to. And sadly, at this point, nearly all Americans have detectable levels in their blood.
True food “poisoning”
I know I’ve sounded the alarm over chemicals in our food supply before. But that’s because I really can’t overstate the critical importance of food safety to longevity. And these findings fall squarely under that category.
PFAS-contaminated food may not send you running immediately to the toilet. But this constitutes true food poisoning—slow and lethal.
As I mentioned earlier, PFASs are near impossible for the body to break down. Meaning they just accumulate over time, carried by proteins and concentrating in the liver and kidneys. They’re especially poisonous to our immune system—and are very likely contributing to less effective vaccines, allergies, and of course, cancer.
We already knew these chemicals were in our water. In fact, PFASs have turned up in drinking water in more than 30 states. Industrial dumping has sent them through major waterways, and into the oceans. (Scientists have even found these chemicals in the blood of polar bears and seals.)
So the fact that they’re also rampant in our food supply should concern everyone. Especially when you consider there are no federal safety standards for foodborne PFASs.
The responsibility falls on the FDA to address this—try as they may to bury their heads in the sand. (In fact, we’re only hearing about these findings because someone snapped a photo of a poster at a conference in Finland and tipped off American environmentalists and press.)
Until bigger steps are taken, you can minimize your exposure and ward off the worst of the damage by following a few simple steps:
- Avoid packaged and processed food—a good half of all fast food containers and bakery wrappers are contaminated with these chemicals.
- Filter your water, especially if you live in a place where contamination is possible.
- Keep a clean house. Like a lot of other environmental chemicals, PFASs can build up in dust.
In a perfect world—with a perfect FDA—you wouldn’t have to worry about any of these threats. But like I said last week, this is yet another case where you’re going to have to be your own watchdog… or risk suffering the consequences.
P.S. I exposed how these chemicals can show up in your daily routine in the May 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The scary truth about dental floss”). Subscribers have access to this and all of my archives. So if you haven’t already done so, consider signing up today. Don’t waste another moment… click here now!
“FDA Tests Find Toxic Chemicals in Food.” WebMD, 06/05/2019. (webmd.com/diet/news/20190605/fda-tests-find-toxic-chemicals-in-food)