Eating just one serving of freshwater fish each year could have the same effect as drinking water heavily polluted with “forever chemicals” for an entire month, a new study released today finds.
More than 2,800 communities in the US, including all 50 states and two territories, have documented PFAS contamination. More than 200 million Americans could be drinking water contaminated with the chemicals. PFAS chemicals build up in our bodies and never break down in the environment. PFAS chemicals have been found in the blood serum of 98% of Americans — virtually everyone, including newborns.
The contamination was widespread, impacting nearly every fish across the country.
The research added that locally caught freshwater fish are far more polluted than commercial catches with PFAS compounds.
The study found freshwater fish were an astounding 280 times greater than forever chemicals detected in some commercially caught and sold fish.
The forever chemical found at greatest concentrations in freshwater fish was PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard, averaging roughly three in four of total PFAS detections.
- It’s nearly impossible to avoid PFAS, manufacturers use the chemicals in thousands of products, including nonstick cookware, mobile phones, carpeting, clothing, makeup, furniture and food packaging.
- For decades the chemicals have leached into drinking water aquifers, contaminating irrigated crops, and infiltrating local waterways.
Even low levels of PFAS in drinking water has been linked to health problems including an increased risk of certain cancers, higher cholesterol levels, reproductive and developmental problems, and suppression of the immune system.
Based on the study’s findings, people who fish for sport might “strongly” consider releasing their catch instead of taking the fish home for a meal.