Haters of kale, rejoice!
A new survey of kale samples taken from several US grocery stores found that seven out of eight samples had “disturbing” levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
Ironically, kale was chosen as a test subject because scientists wanted to look at a vegetable that has a reputation for being healthy.
It’s perhaps even more ironic that the kale labeled “USDA organic” had higher levels of PFAS than conventional kale.
That was “a bit of a shock finding,” Robert Verkerk, founder of the Alliance for Natural Health, told the Guardian.
The Alliance for Natural Health produced the survey report and published it on its website.
PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily and are found in soil, water and air worldwide.
PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals widely used in packaging, clothing, carpets, firefighting foam and even toilet paper since the 1950s.
Research has linked the chemicals to cancer and other health problems, such as issues 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 lab certified by the Environmental Protection Agency and were then tested with the same method used by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA conducted kale analyses between 2019 and 2021 and found no evidence of PFAS contamination.
The new survey found PFAS levels going up to 250 parts per trillion. 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’s not known how the kale was contaminated with PFAS, but it could have been grown with PFAS-tainted irrigation water or in fields where contaminated sludge had been spread.
“It’s pretty scary, and there’s no easy solution,” Verkerk said. He also called upon the FDA to implement a better PFAS testing program for America’s entire food supply.