Eating locally caught freshwater fish in the U.S. may be a significant source of exposure to a harmful class of chemicals known as PFAS, according to a new study from the Environmental Working Group in Washington, DC.
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of “forever chemicals” that have been linked to adverse health effects. They are used in hundreds of consumer and industrial products, such as food packaging, waterproof fabrics, and firefighting foams.
Scientists at the Environmental Working Group estimate that there are tens of thousands of landfills and manufacturing sites across the U.S. from which PFAS in surface water (e.g., streams and rivers) originate. This water pollution allows PFAS to penetrate the food chain, resulting in the contamination of fish, soil used for agriculture, and livestock feed. Ingesting PFAS-contaminated food and water is also the main source of human exposure.
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