Kale haters, rejoice!
A new survey of kale samples taken from various US grocery stores found that seven out of eight samples had “disturbing” levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
Ironically, kale was chosen as the test subject because the scientists wanted to look at a vegetable that has a reputation for being healthy.
Perhaps even more ironic that kale labeled “USDA organic” had higher levels of PFAS than conventional kale.
That was “a bit of a shocking finding,” Robert Verkerk, founder of the Alliance for Natural Health, told The Guardian.
Alliance for Natural Health produced the survey report and posted it on its website.
PFAS are often called “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily and are found in soil, water, and air throughout the world.
PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals widely used in packaging, clothing, carpeting, fire fighting foam, and even toilet paper since the 1950s.
Research has linked the chemicals to cancer and other health problems, including problems with the immune system, liver, and fertility.
And scientists are still learning about PFAS, including how best to detect and measure them, remove them from air and water, and determine their long-term effects.
For the survey, the kale samples were sent to a laboratory certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and then tested using the same method used by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA tested kale between 2019 and 2021 and found no evidence of PFAS contamination.
The new survey found that PFAS levels rose to 250 parts per billion. There are no established limits for PFAS in food in the US.
But the EPA has determined that no amount of exposure to PFAS compounds in drinking water can be considered safe.
It is not known how the kale became contaminated with PFAS, but it could have been grown with PFAS-contaminated irrigation water or in fields where contaminated sludge had been spread.
“It’s pretty scary and there’s no easy fix,” Verkerk said. He also urged the FDA to implement a better PFAS testing program for the entire US food supply.