BOSTON – Massachusetts was one of many first states to manage so-called “everlasting chemical compounds” in ingesting water and has one of many strictest requirements within the nation.
However scientists are more and more involved about perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances exhibiting up in meals checks, and lawmakers are stepping up efforts to review the extent of contamination within the Bay State.
The trouble follows latest studies from federal well being officers exhibiting poisonous chemical compounds in every thing from vegatables and fruits to chocolate desserts and child formulation.
A invoice heard by the Legislature’s Committee on Pure Assets Tuesday would require the state to rent a advisor to review PFAS in agricultural merchandise resembling pesticides, meals and fertilizers, meals merchandise and packaging.
“PFAS are a severe menace to the general public well being of ALS,” mentioned Rep. Susan Moran, D-Falmouth, who launched one other invoice that might classify PFAS compounds as poisonous and harmful.
A bipartisan proposal, now pending earlier than the Public Well being Committee, would ban PFAS from meals packaging. Senate Minority Chief Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, is amongst two dozen lawmakers who signed the invoice.
The state Division of Environmental Safety requires ingesting water methods to check for PFAS, beneath the principles that went into impact this yr. The state requires water methods to take away contamination if checks for six varieties of PFAS chemical compounds exceed concentrations of 20 components per billion.
Greater than two dozen communities have water methods that exceed these ranges and are working with environmental regulators to remove contamination, the state company mentioned.
However activists say the state ought to pay extra consideration to PFAS in meals, which is the opposite approach that people and animals ingest the chemical compounds.
“We don’t know what the PFAS content material of our meals is,” mentioned Kristen Mello, a Westfield chemist and activist who helps the proposals.
“They’ve discovered PFAS in milk, eggs, chocolate cake and even oysters,” he advised the panel.
PFAS are referred to as “everlasting chemical compounds” as a result of they will construct up within the physique and take many years to interrupt down. Through the years, they’ve been utilized in quite a lot of merchandise, from raincoats and hearth preventing foams to sofas and non-stick pans.
Analysis factors to hyperlinks between PFAS and kidney most cancers, excessive ldl cholesterol, and being pregnant issues.
The US Meals and Drug Administration reported final yr that analysis had detected PFAS in quite a lot of meals, together with produce, meats, and seafood.
Final week, a gaggle of environmental and public well being teams requested the FDA to ban chemical compounds from meals processing.
“The cumulative impact of PFAS from all of those sources on our well being, together with our threat of most cancers, harm to our immune methods, and poor improvement of our kids, has resulted in a nationwide outcry for complete motion,” the teams wrote. “States have been compelled to take motion as a result of the federal authorities’s fragmented strategy has left residents in danger.”
The petitioners famous that the diploma of contamination of the meals by PFAS compounds is “largely unknown as a result of the company doesn’t analyze them.”
A number of states, together with Maine, Washington, and New York, have handed legal guidelines banning the usage of PFAS in meals packaging and requiring product testing.
In the meantime, a number of meals corporations, together with McDonald’s, Wendy’s and the grocery chain Complete Meals, have pledged to cease utilizing PFAS in packaging.
Christian M. Wade covers the state of Massachusetts for North of Boston Media Group newspapers and web sites. Electronic mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org