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Revealed: Tea, pork chops and peanut butter


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By Caitlin Tilley, DailyMail.com health reporter

19:39 20 February 2024, updated 19:40 20 February 2024

  • Tea, pork, sports drinks, nut and seed butters and snack chips had higher levels
  • And a restaurant pizza showed higher PFAS levels than a home-cooked pizza.
  • Read more: More than 70 million Americans are living with PFAS-laden tap water



New research shows that tea, meat and peanuts are just some of the common foods that cause a build-up of PFAS 'forever chemicals' in the body.

While food has been tested for these toxins in previous studies, experts have never been sure how much of it enters our systems and stays there.

For the new paper, scientists tracked more than 700 participants for more than four years, taking regular blood samples and studying exactly what they ate.

He described the results as 'really interesting'.

Foods and drinks generally considered relatively healthy, such as green tea, pork chops and bottled water, were all associated with high levels of PFAS.

On the other hand, contrary to other research findings, fries, added sugar and tap water were not found to increase the risk.

Researchers across the US found that tea, pork, sports drinks, processed meats, nut and seed butters, chips and bottled water lead to higher levels of PFAS in the blood.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of man-made chemicals used to make products resistant to water, stains, and heat.

They are called 'forever chemicals' because they do not break down naturally and are linked to many permanent health problems, including many types of cancer, hormone disruption, thyroid problems, birth defects, kidney disease and liver damage. .

The study looked at two groups of people with a total of more than 700 participants.

For one group, researchers examined what they ate and the levels of PFAS in their blood over four years. They took blood samples at the beginning and again after three and four years.

They also looked at fast food and found that home-cooked burritos, fajitas, tacos, French fries and pizza had lower levels of PFAS, while people who ate dishes from restaurants had higher levels of PFAS in their blood.

Diet that reduced PFAS levels

  • homemade food
  • nuts and seeds
  • domestic tap water
  • Sugar
  • fruit drinks
  • soda
  • Fruit
  • cooked grains such as rice and oatmeal
  • bread
  • Pasta
  • some vegetables including potatoes

Diet that led to high levels of PFAS

  • restaurant cooked food
  • Tea (sweetened and unsweetened)
  • pork
  • Sports drink
  • Nut and Seed Butter
  • snack chips
  • bottled water

Hailey Hampson, a doctoral student at the University of Southern California and lead author of the study, told The Guardian: 'It's really interesting to find that these foods that maybe aren't so healthy were less sources of PFAS when they were cooked at home. , and this certainly points to food packaging.'

The research also found that butter was likely to increase PFAS concentrations. Eating nuts permanently lowers levels of the chemicals in the blood, but nut butters appear to have higher levels.

The study states: 'Given that nut and seed butters are packaged in grease-resistant containers, it is possible that nut and seed butters contribute to greater PFAS exposure through the packaging material rather than through the nuts and seeds themselves. can do.'

Higher blood PFAS levels associated with drinking more bottled water could also mean contamination through packaging, or a contaminated water source.

Meanwhile, household tap water was associated with lower concentrations of PFAS levels.

'High levels' of PFAS found in most US pesticides

Texas researchers found the chemicals in seven out of 10 pesticides — but six contained very large amounts of a particularly dangerous type of chemical that has been strongly linked to cancer.

This contrasts with recent EPA data that found more than 70 million Americans are living in homes with tap water containing PFAS.

The researchers theorized that the high PFAS levels from tea primarily came from tea bags treated with forever chemicals, though they said more research was necessary.

Eating too much processed meat was shown to increase PFAS blood levels. Hampson said this is not surprising because processing always allows multiple entry points for chemicals.

However, non-processed cuts of pork also showed a strong association with increased PFAS blood levels, suggesting that pigs may be contaminated.

People who ate one serving of hot dog more than others had 25.4 percent higher levels of PFNA in their blood.

PFNA, also known as perfluorononanoic acid, is a synthetic chemical used in the production of non-stick and stain-resistant coatings.

And a higher single serving of processed meat was associated with 9.8 percent higher PFOA concentrations.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is another man-made substance used to make products resistant to stains, grease, soil, and water.

To the researchers' surprise, participants who consumed higher levels of sugar, fruit drinks and soda showed lower levels of PFAS in their blood.

They suggested that young adults drink more soda and fruit drinks, which may be less contaminated with PFAS than tap or bottled water.

Fruits, cooked grains such as rice and oatmeal, bread, pasta and some vegetables including potatoes were also associated with lower PFAS concentrations. This is thought to be because these foods are high in fiber and fiber has the ability to reduce PFA concentrations by increasing the rate of disposal of PFAS in the body.

The study concluded: 'Our results highlight the need for public monitoring of beverages, processed meats, and food packaging containers, in addition to other well-known sources of PFAS.'

It was published in the Environment International Journal.

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