Unlike many pollutants which are fat-soluble, PFAS are water soluble:
Many PFAS are soluble in water and have been carried globally through the water cycle. However, over 80% of PFAS in the environment are thought to be accumulated in organisms and food. PFAS are bioaccumulative but are not found in fat: they are mostly found in proteinaceous tissue such as blood, liver and kidneys and are known to pass through placenta from pregnant mother to child. 99% of Americans have PFAS levels in the blood. Prolonged and high levels of PFAS have been linked to systemic immunosuppression and other health conditions such as cancer, liver damage and hormone disruption.
– Pacific Rim Labs
Where are they coming from? It’s not just non-stick cookware:
There are over 5000 different PFAS substances currently in use. PFAS are used to create Teflon (non-stick cookware), all-weather waterproof clothing, automotive chrome plating, grease-proof coatings on fast-food paper wrappers and aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) for firefighting applications.
– Pacific Rim Labs
One reason PFAS are in food is because the food is grown in contaminated soil. How did it get contaminated (besides the water)? Biosolids used as fertilizer:
Biosolids are solid organic matter recovered from a sewage treatment process and used as fertilizer. In the past, it was common for farmers to use animal manure to improve their soil fertility. In the 1920s, the farming community began also to use sewage sludge from local wastewater treatment plants. … [Sewage slude can contain] persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, radionuclides, and heavy metals at levels sufficient to contaminate soil and water when applied to land.
PFAS is an acronym for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances. See that “fluor-” in the name? That’s short for fluorine. PFAS are called “forever chemicals” because their fluorine-carbon bond is “one of the strongest single bonds in chemistry.” It doesn’t easily break down.