Read the full article by Jared Hayes (Environmental Working Group)

“The toxic ‘forever chemicals‘ known as PFAS could be contaminating nearly 20 million acres of U.S. cropland, according to an EWG estimate.

Using state data, EWG estimates 5 percent of all crop fields could be using sewage sludge, or biosolids, as a fertilizer, even though it’s often contaminated with PFAS. For example, Ohio found an estimated 5 percent of all cropland acres have been fertilized with sludge since 2011. There are no national requirements to test biosolids for the presence of PFAS or warn farmers they could be using contaminated sludge on their crops.

Since 2016, 19.1 billion pounds of sludge have been applied to farm fields, according to state reports to the Environmental Protection Agency. The states that produced the most sludge intended for use on farm fields include California, Florida and Illinois, but sludge can be transported and applied in other states.

If farmers applied five tons of sludge per acre per year, as some experts estimate, the total number of acres of cropland where sludge is applied could be as low as 2 million acres, EWG estimates.

Sewage sludge is a product of the wastewater treatment process. Industrial discharges of PFAS into rivers and to wastewater treatment plants build up in the sludge, which is then applied to land as a fertilizer, put in a landfill or incinerated. Federal rules limiting pathogens and metals in sludge do not apply to PFAS.”…