US grocery store Kale has disturbing levels of PFAs

Testing conducted by the Alliance for Natural Health -USA (ANH) has found that kale samples purchased at grocery stores across the US to be contaminated with potentially dangerous levels PFAS chemicals. 

The survey of kale samples taken from several US grocery stores found that seven out of eight samples had “disturbing” levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Kale was chosen as a test subject because scientists wanted to look at a vegetable that has a reputation for being healthy.

For the survey, the kale samples were sent to a lab certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and were then tested with the same method used by the Food and Drug Administration.

It should be stressed that the US Food and Drug Administration (FSA) conducted kale analyses between 2019 and 2021 and found no evidence of PFAS contamination.

PFA are a broad class of chemicals widely used for decades in a range of non-stick, water- and grease-resistant products such as clothing and cookware. They are described as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t degrade naturally in the environment, and have been linked to a variety of health problems, including liver and immune-system damage and some cancers.

Last week, in the latest indication of the scale of an issue which has been described as the (re)insurance  market’s new asbestos, US chemical manufacturer 3M said it will pay some $10 billion to settle lawsuits in relation to so-called ‘forever chemicals”.

The lawsuit related to alleged contamination of US public drinking water systems with the potentially harmful compounds used in firefighting foam and a host of consumer products, the company said.

The agreement would settle a case that was scheduled for trial last month involving a claim by Stuart, Florida, one of about 300 communities that have filed similar suits against companies that produced firefighting foam or the PFAS it contained.

3M chairman Mike Roman said the deal was “an important step forward” that builds on the company’s decision in 2020 to phase out PFOA and PFOS and its investments in “state-of-the-art water filtration technology in our chemical manufacturing operations.” The company, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, will halt all PFAS production by the end of 2025, he said.

In a statement, the ANH said: “We need to create a groundswell of grassroots support for a ban on PFAS chemicals as soon as possible.”