Read the full article by E.A. Crunden (E&E News)
“‘Forever chemicals’ have made their way into widely available fertilizers used in home gardens, according to a new study out today that warns of stark implications for human health.
Samples taken from nine different widely available fertilizers used for home gardening contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, according to the findings from the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Sierra Club. Eight of those nine fertilizers exceeded PFAS screening guidelines established by Maine, the state that has taken the most sweeping actions on PFAS in agricultural land application.
The report traces the chemicals back to biosolids — the nutrient-rich organic matter left over following traditional wastewater treatment practices. Fertilizer products are commonly made using that waste.
Researchers tested for 33 different PFAS in each of the home fertilizers, finding 24 of those total. Each fertilizer contained between 14 and 20 PFAS compounds. They also showed two to eight times greater mass of precursor compounds — which break down into other PFAS — along with ‘hundreds to thousands’ of other unidentified fluorine compounds.
Sonya Lunder, senior toxics adviser for the Sierra Club and a report author, said that the products are marketed as being ‘organic’ or ‘eco-friendly,’ but that the presence of the PFAS raises concerns.
‘This home use on foods that people eat raw is a particularly egregious thing,’ Lunder argued in an interview, noting people might consume raw items like lettuce grown in a garden containing those fertilizer products. ‘That this could be called ‘organic’ is troubling.’
A former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, Linda Birnbaum, said in a statement that the discovery should put more pressure on federal regulators. ‘The EPA needs to take immediate action to prevent the reckless contamination of our food and water, soil and air by limiting the use of PFAS chemicals wherever possible,’ said Birnbaum…”