One U.S. fish is equivalent to a month’s worth of contaminated water

One U.S. fish is equivalent to a month’s worth of contaminated water

New research published on Tuesday indicates that consuming one freshwater fish collected in a river or lake in the United States is equivalent to drinking a month’s worth of water contaminated with toxic “forever chemicals,”

The invisible compounds, known as PFAS, were created in the 1940s to withstand water and heat and are now found in non-stick cookware, fabrics, fire suppression foams, and food packaging.

However, because to the indestructibility of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the contaminants have accumulated over time in the air, soil, lakes, rivers, food, and even human bodies.

There have been increasing requests for stronger regulation of PFAS, which have been linked to a variety of major health conditions, including as liver damage, high cholesterol, a weakened immune system, and numerous types of cancer.

Between 2013 and 2015, a team of researchers evaluated over 500 samples from rivers and lakes around the United States to determine the PFAS contamination of locally caught fish.

A research published in the journal Environmental Research found that the median concentration of PFAS in fish was 9,500 nanograms per kilogram.

Nearly three-quarters of the discovered “forever chemicals” were PFOS, one of the most prevalent and harmful forms of the thousands of PFAS types.

The researchers determined that consuming a single freshwater fish was equivalent to drinking water containing 48 parts per trillion of PFOS for a month.

The Environmental Protection Agency cut the acceptable threshold of PFOS in drinking water to 0.02 parts per trillion last year.

According to the study, the overall PFAS concentration in the freshwater fish was 278 times higher than that discovered in fish sold commercially.

David Andrews, a senior scientist at the non-profit Environmental Working Group who conducted the investigation, told Agence France-Presse that he grew up catching and consuming fish.

Andrews, one of the study’s authors, stated, “I can no longer look at a fish without thinking about PFAS contamination,”

The impact on impoverished groups who consume fish as a source of protein or for social or cultural reasons was “particularly concerning due to the impact on disadvantaged communities that consume fish as a source protein or for social or cultural reasons,” he added.

This finding makes me furious because firms that manufactured and used PFAS to poison the world have not been held accountable.

Patrick Byrne, an environmental pollution expert at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom who was not involved in the study, stated that PFAS are “probably the greatest chemical threat the human race is facing in the 21st Century”

“This study is important because it provides the first evidence for widespread transfer of PFAS directly from fish to humans,” he told AFP.

Andrews advocated for stricter regulations to eliminate all non-essential uses of PFAS.

Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden presented a proposal to ban PFAS to the European Chemicals Agency of the European Union on Friday.

The proposal is “one of the broadest in the EU’s history,” according to a statement from the agency, because the five countries determined that PFAS were not effectively regulated and that bloc-wide regulation was necessary.


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