Due to growing concerns over the harmful effects of PFAS and other chemicals on human health, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has initiated a comprehensive food safety review aimed at addressing potential health risks that have been associated with per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other chemicals that have been found in various food products.
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, have been extensively used in a wide range of consumer products since the 1940s. These substances gained popularity due to their remarkable resistance to heat, water, and oil, making them valuable in the manufacturing of non-stick cookware, waterproof fabrics, and firefighting foams. One of the concerning characteristics of PFAS is their long-lasting nature. Termed “forever chemicals,” PFAS do not readily degrade in the environment or the human body. As a result, improper disposal and the widespread use of PFAS have led to their pervasive presence in the environment, including soil, bodies of water, and even in the air we breathe.
These forever chemicals have the ability to cause developmental delays in children and can significantly increase the risk of cancer. Environmental agencies have noted that wildlife such as birds, fish, and other animals that have been living in environments that have been contaminated with PFAS chemicals have been affected and displayed concerning symptoms.
In addition to their persistence, PFAS have a tendency to bioaccumulate, meaning they can build up in the tissues of living organisms over time. This poses a particular threat to humans and animals higher up in the food chain, as the accumulated PFAS concentrations can reach toxic levels.
PFAS Exposure Health Risks
Researchers have found associations between PFAS exposure and adverse effects on the immune system, liver, and thyroid function. The thyroid gland, responsible for regulating metabolism and hormone production, is especially susceptible to PFAS interference. Studies have linked exposure to certain PFAS chemicals to reduced production of thyroid hormones, which can lead to hypothyroidism and other related health issues.
Furthermore, the potential for developmental delays in children and an increased risk of certain cancers have also been subjects of concern. Epidemiological studies have suggested possible associations between PFAS exposure and an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer.
Beyond human health, wildlife living in PFAS-contaminated environments, such as fish and birds, have shown signs of reproductive and developmental abnormalities, highlighting the ecological impact of these chemicals. If fish and wildlife are contaminated with PFAS it demonstrates a real threat to the food chain that can make its way to human dinner plates.
FDAs Regulatory Research on PFAS
In recent years, the public’s growing awareness and concern about the health risks posed by PFAS have prompted regulatory actions at various levels. Many states and local governments have implemented bans or restrictions on the use of PFAS and other chemicals like BPA in certain products, such as food containers and children’s toys.
At the federal level, the FDA has been actively investigating and monitoring the safety of these chemicals in food products. The comprehensive food safety review announced by the FDA is a significant step towards evaluating the potential risks associated with PFAS exposure through the consumption of food items.
In parallel, ongoing research conducted by independent scientists and academic institutions aims to enhance the understanding of the environmental fate, human exposure pathways, and potential health effects of PFAS. These studies are crucial for developing evidence-based regulations to protect public health.
Consumer Advocacy and Public Awareness
Consumer advocacy groups have been at the forefront of raising awareness about the potential dangers of PFAS exposure. They have campaigned for more transparent labeling of products containing these chemicals and have urged the government to enforce stricter regulations.
As the FDA’s comprehensive food safety review commences, consumers are advised to stay informed about any updates and take proactive measures to minimize exposure to PFAS. Opting for fresh, unprocessed foods and using alternatives to plastic containers and wraps can be some of the steps individuals can take to reduce their exposure.
FDA Regulation of PFAS
The FDA’s commitment to conducting a thorough and science-based evaluation of PFAS in food products is a crucial step toward safeguarding public health. As more information becomes available, it is expected that regulatory actions will be taken to mitigate the potential risks associated with these chemicals exposure.
The collaboration between regulatory agencies, industry stakeholders, and advocacy groups is essential in creating a safer and healthier future for all. By addressing the concerns surrounding PFAS and other chemicals such as BPA, the FDA aims to ensure that consumers can trust the safety of the food they consume, protecting the health and well-being of the nation. Ongoing research and public awareness efforts will play a vital role in shaping evidence-based policies and practices to minimize exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals.
Lawsuits Filed Over PFAS-Related Injuries
In response to the negligence and lack of transparency by companies and government entities regarding PFAS contamination, an increasing number of lawsuits have been filed seeking compensation for individuals and communities affected by PFAS-related injuries. These lawsuits have been brought forth by individuals suffering from health issues allegedly caused by PFAS exposure, as well as by local communities and states that have experienced widespread contamination of water sources and other environmental damages.
The test trial for these lawsuits came out of a city on the Atlantic coast of Florida, Stuart. The City of Stuart v. 3M Co., et. al alleged that the City’s water supply and groundwater were contaminated by PFAS resulting from the use of AFFF firefighter foam products that were being manufactured by certain companies. The contamination led to medical issues such as thyroid disease, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and ulcerative colitis.
Instead of going to trial, 3M has reached a settlement agreement to resolve the Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) firefighting foam claims filed against them by water providers, amounting to a sum between 10.5 and 12.5 billion dollars. The settlement will be paid out over a period of 13 years, including the city of Stuart, Florida.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer About Your PFAS Lawsuit
If you or a loved one have experienced such health issues after exposure to PFAS, you may have legal options to pursue compensation. Although a settlement with 3M is a positive development, the potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure remain a concern for affected communities.
To explore your legal options effectively, it is advised that you seek guidance from a skilled personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling claims involving defective products. They will be able to answer any question you might have regarding your claim, provide insights to help you maximize the compensation you receive for AFFF-related claims, assist you with the necessary paperwork, engage in communication with relevant parties in the multidistrict litigation, and lend credibility to your case.
Personal injury attorneys often offer complimentary consultations where they can assess the details of your situation to determine if the defendant’s negligence contributed to your injuries and whether your damages are a direct consequence of the harm caused. They can also evaluate the extent of your damages to estimate the potential worth of your settlement. To safeguard your right to seek compensation for your losses, it is essential to reach out to a personal injury attorney at the earliest opportunity.