Temkin: In 2017, scientists from nonprofit research institutions such as the Environmental Task Force federal and regional agencies and universities worked together to test samples of sandwich and confectionery packaging, potato chips, pizza boxes and other food packages from 27 fast food chains and several local restaurants in five regions of the United States. They found that of the 327 samples used to distribute food, 40% tested positive for fluoride. WebMD: The new food economy has tested and found PFAS chemicals in “green” fiber collection trays. Mr. Grandjean felt that the limits of health protection were still too high and warned against large-scale application of the new generation of PFAS chemicals before conducting comprehensive toxicity, environmental compatibility and public health impact tests. Blum: We don’t know the answer, but we believe that PFAS chemicals, because they will never break down in the environment and the chemicals studied are toxic, should be used only when necessary and are not needed for food packaging. Although the presence of fluorine does not automatically indicate the presence of PFAS chemicals, an EPA expert who conducted further testing on the samples found that the vast majority of the materials tested contained known PFAS. Temkin: In June 2019, Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, suggested that the PFOA safety threshold for drinking water should be only 0.1 parts per trillion, 700 times lower than the safety level established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Temkin: Perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a family of thousands of chemicals used to produce water-, grease- and dirt-repellent coatings for a variety of industrial and consumer applications. D., an Environmental Task Force toxicologist; Arlene Blum, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute and Research Associate at the University of California at Berkeley; and Tom Bruton, Senior Green Science Scientist, PhD, asked “her” to participate in the discussion. Use the Environmental Task Force National Drinking Water Database and the interactive PFAS map to find out if these chemicals have been detected in your drinking water. These chemicals are found in upholstery treatments, carpet treatments, waterproof clothing, furniture, cosmetics, dental floss, non-stick cookware, food containers, mud, food and water. The New Food Economy, a nonprofit editorial team that studies the “forces that determine how and what we eat,” visited eight restaurants in 14 New York City locations – including Chipotle, Sweetgreen and Dig – and tested the fiber trays used in each restaurant. Temkin: Peer-reviewed studies have linked exposure to these chemicals to weakened immune systems and reduced vaccine efficacy, low birth weight, endocrine disorders, thyroid disease, hypercholesterolemia, hypersensitivity and increased risk of autoimmune disease, as well as increased risk of testicular, kidney, liver and pancreatic cancer. Grandjean has published a case study on how the most commonly studied regulatory guidelines and legal limits for PFAS chemicals have decreased significantly since their first proposal a decade ago. They are said to be compostable and environmentally friendly, but some health care experts say the chemicals that allow these trays to retain hot, moist, greasy foods without breaking up are toxic to both the environment and you. PFOA and PFOS are now banned in the United States, but the EPA and FDA have approved many alternative chemicals to PFAS without proper study. Temkin: The results of this study help us understand where and how PFAS chemicals are used.