Read the full article by Hal Bernton (The Seattle Times)

“In August 2019, Vera Harrington put a quarter cup of her breast milk into the refrigerator. She gave this milk not to her daughter, Flora, but a team of researchers investigating a pervasive class of chemicals that have found their way into humans all over the world.

These chemicals are called Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — or PFAS — and have been used over the decades in products ranging from firefighting foams to cosmetics, nonstick pans, rain gear, stain-protected sofas, some types of fast food wrappers and even dental floss.

Harrington, who lives in an Eastlake town house in Seattle, was one of 50 Puget Sound area first-time mothers who participated in the study. This past April, she got the results, which documented nine types of PFAS in her breast milk.

Harrington’s cumulative tally of 146 parts per trillion was modestly higher than the median contamination levels of 121 parts per trillion for all 50 study participants. But for Harrington, now pregnant with her second child, the findings were jarring. Reading through the results, she wondered what might have been the sources of the chemicals in her breast milk, and how they could have been avoided.

A confidentiality cloak typically protects participants in clinical studies. Harrington decided she wanted to speak to The Seattle Times to help raise public awareness about PFAS chemicals.”…