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CR Investigates: Forever chemicals found in some milk

CR Investigates: Forever chemicals found in some milk
4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago Friday, May 24 2024 May 24, 2024 May 24, 2024 7:12 PM May 24, 2024 in News - Consumer News
Source: Consumer Reports

In April, the Environmental Protection Agency put new limits on PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, in drinking water—a step that could potentially reduce exposure to the chemicals and their health risks for approximately 100 million Americans. But it may surprise you that there are still no federal guidelines for those same chemicals in food. With reports of PFAS contamination affecting some farms, Consumer Reports scientists took to the labs to find out if our milk supply is safe. 

Whether you add it to your coffee, pour it over your cereal, or drink a glass of it, milk is a staple in practically any fridge. Besides essential vitamins and minerals, there might be something else in milk that’s not good for you.

Over the years, many dairy farms have reported PFA contamination in their water or soil and subsequently in their cows and the milk that the cows produce.

PFAS are also known as forever chemicals because they essentially never break down naturally and have been linked to cancer, immunity and endocrine problems, and infertility. 

PFAS are often added to products to make them waterproof and stain-resistant. Once PFAS are in the world, they end up in our water supply, in the fertilizer farms use, in our food, and in us.

To investigate the potential problem, CR recently conducted a limited test of 50 samples of whole milk purchased from grocery stores in five states. 

The good news: CR found PFOS or PFOA—two PFAS that are most often linked to harmful health effects—in only six of the 50 samples.

However, the results also raised some red flags. 

No one should stop drinking milk based on these findings, however it does show how our federal food safety agencies and manufacturers are not monitoring for PFAS in milk and other food and the need for the need of health-protective limits on these harmful chemicals.

In response to questions from Consumer Reports, the International Dairy Foods Association said, “Dairy foods and beverages are highly regulated and rely on a verified system to ensure their safety and integrity.”

If you’re concerned about PFAS, you can limit your exposure by avoiding stain and water-resistant clothing and carpets and using cookware that claims to be PTFE-free, such as pans with ceramic coatings. 

Other ways to limit your PFAS exposure: test your drinking water for the contaminants and, if present, use a water filter certified to remove them.

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