What’s in my cake? The Food and Drug Administration has found worrisome levels of certain “nonstick” chemicals in some grocery store meats and—here’s the kicker—chocolate cake. The food-test results are causing some states and public health groups to call for more regulation of the manmade compounds.
A federal report last year cited links between high levels of manmade compounds called PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalykyl substances) in people’s blood and health problems. Levels in nearly half of the meat and fish tested were two or more times over the federal advisory level for PFAS. The level in the chocolate cake was higher: more than 250 times the federal guidelines.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokeswoman Tara Rabin says the contamination was “not likely to be a human health concern”—even though the tests exceeded the federal PFAS recommendations for drinking water.
Researchers weren’t completely sure the compounds cause health problems. They’re calling some PFAS health concerns but not others. The FDA considers each discovery of the compound in food individually—including the kind of food and levels of contamination.
There are nearly 5,000 varieties of PFAS. They’re called “nonstick” because they repel grease, water, and stains. DuPont created PFAS in 1938 and put them into use for nonstick cookware.
Industries use PFAS in consumer items from food packaging to dental floss. The chemicals are also found in firefighting foam used by the U.S. military for suppressing jet-fuel fires. As a result, PFAS have built up in water, soil, and some treated sewage sludge around military bases and PFAS production facilities.
Impatient for federal action, several states have begun regulating the chemicals on their own. “Drinking one glass of contaminated water is unlikely to be associated with health risks, as is eating one slice of contaminated chocolate cake,” says Jamie DeWitt, a toxicologist who studies PFAS. “Individually, each item is unlikely to be a huge problem, but collectively and over a lifetime, that may be a different story.”
PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals” because they take thousands of years to degrade and because some accumulate in people’s bodies. Of course, Christians should be careful of what they put in their bodies. But they needn’t worry about “forever chemicals”—God’s promise of defeating death (Isaiah 25:8) and resurrecting our bodies anew for eternity with Him (1 Corinthians 15) are the true forevers!
(The U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency’s campus in Silver Spring, Maryland. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)