PFAS found in pet food packaging
From dental floss, to frying pans, to food packaging, new studies continue to discover the use of PFAS -the ‘forever chemicals’ in products we use in our daily lives. Now a new study suggests that our cats and dogs may be exposed to these potentially dangerous chemicals through their food bags.
The study, carried out by the US-based public health advocate group the Environmental Working Group, tested 11 bags of pet food from seven brands. The results suggest some pet food bags may be contaminated with PFAS.
PFAS are a family of over 4,700 chemicals that are used in industry to help give products water and grease proof properties. They do not break down naturally and can build up in the environment, as well as in animals and people. Research has linked exposure to PFAS with negative impacts on human health, including interfering with our hormonal and reproductive systems and promoting the development of certain cancers.
The researchers tested for ‘total fluorine’ in the food bags, which can indicate the likely presence of PFAS. For cat food bags the highest levels of total fluorine found was 630 parts per million (ppm), with the highest level in dog food bags found to be 590ppm. They then tested the bags with the highest concentrations of fluorine for specific PFAS and found seven different PFAS across four bags
While this study did not seek to find out if the food itself contained PFAS, previous studies have concluded that PFAS in packaging has the potential to migrate into the food contained within, so there is a potential risk pets are eating food that has been contaminated with PFAS. With studies on other animals showing that PFAS may cause reduced immune response and kidney / liver problems it is worrying to think that our pets could be unnecessarily exposed to harmful chemicals.
Humans and animals are still exposed to many toxic chemicals in their homes and environments. It is important that legislative steps are taken to reduce the use of harmful chemicals, which is why CHEM Trust and partner’s ‘Ban PFAS manifesto’ urges the European Commission and EU Member States to ban PFAS in consumer products by 2025 and across all uses by 2030.