Read the full article by Pat Elder (LA Progressive)
“The military is engaged in a campaign to convince the public that the PFAS contamination it has caused on military bases around the world is being cleaned up and that it is safeguarding public health by complying with the EPA’s lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion in drinking water. For the most part, both claims are false. The DOD knows the primary route of exposure to PFAS is through diet, especially seafood from contaminated water bodies, although this truth is treated like classified information. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) estimates that ‘fish and other seafood’ account for up to 86% of dietary PFAS exposure in adults.
More attention must be given to formulating policy based on the science we know. Exposure to PFAS from household products can be rather quickly eliminated by altering the chemical production of these consumables. Eliminating exposure caused by severely contaminated groundwater, rivers, the ocean, and poisoned marine food chains will take a very long time, somewhat comparable to the nuclear half-life of spent radioactive fuel. Half the battle is in discontinuing their use. Table 1, below, presents a few estimates of source contributions to overall PFAS exposures for adults. Drinking water accounts for approximately 15% of PFAS exposure in adults while the diet accounts for 66%.
The 17 samples of adult PFAS exposures shown above suggest that contamination from the diet is 4.3 times more likely than contamination from tap water. That disparity is likely to increase as municipal water systems across the country hurriedly install filter systems to reduce PFAS levels while states continue to set maximum contaminant levels for drinking water at a fraction of the EPA’s 70 ppt. Lifetime Health Advisory.
The European Food Safety Authority estimated that fish and other seafood dominate the exposure of adults to PFOS, an especially toxic variety of PFAS chemical. For the elderly, EFSA says meat and meat products account for up to 52% of PFOS exposure, while eggs and egg products account for up to 42% of infant exposure.
It’s not a surprise. Surface water across the country is contaminated from military and industrial sites that use and discard massive amounts of the substances. Agricultural fields are contaminated with PFAS-laden sewer sludge and irrigated water is laced with the toxins. Animals and humans consume contaminated crops.
People who drink from wells near military installations are an exception to the general rule, however. Many are likely exposed to PFAS contamination in drinking water in the thousands of parts per trillion, while the military has still not robustly tested private wells near installations across the country. Most states, with a few exceptions, are oblivious.
Some jurisdictions like Orange County, CA estimate that it’ll cost more than $1 Billion to treat or replace its municipal wells contaminated with PFAS, much of which is caused by military activities. This pathway toward protecting human health from the ravages of these chemicals is expensive, but it pales in comparison to the costs of protecting health from PFAS-poisoned food…”