EFSA proposes stricter limit values for hazardous substances
High Fluorinated Substances - PFAS is considered hormone-disrupting and carcinogenic. They can be found in everything from food packaging to fire foam, and are almost impossible to avoid. The European Food Safety Authority is proposing a sharper assessment of where the limit goes.
Facts about PFAS
PFAS (poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances) is a collective name for a large group of substances. They do not occur naturally, but began to be produced in the mid-20th century because of their special chemical properties. According to Efsa, the main sources of PFAS in food are drinking water, fish, fruit and eggs.
The European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, proposes a more rigorous assessment of how much PFAS substances we can get in us without risk to health. PFAS are chemical so-called high-fluorinated substances, which most of them get mainly through food and indoor environment. Substances which, among other things, are suspected to be endocrine disruptors, are found to a greater extent in drinking water in areas where groundwater has been contaminated, such as fire drills.
New value per week developed
Efsa is now ready with its proposal for assessing the risks with four different PFAS substances – PFOA, PFNA, PFHxS, and PFOS. These four are found in food and drinking water. The new assessment is based on studies of both animals and humans. Now is based on a referral to all member countries. Efsa estimates that all four PFAS substances are equally harmful to health and proposes a total value for the amount that is deemed to be safe to consume every week throughout life without any health risks. The new proposed value is 8 ng / kg body weight and weekly.
“PFAS substances in the environment must go down”
Emma Halldin Ankarberg, a toxicologist at the National Food Agency, says in a press release that she agrees with Efsa’s strict assessment and that the levels of PFAS substances in the environment must decrease so that they do not end up in our food or our drinking water. PFAS does not cause acute health problems, but the substances are stored in the body for a long time. If you drink water with high levels of PFAS for a long time, you run the risk of exceeding the levels that are suspected to affect health.
Affects the immune system
High levels of the PFAS substances that have now been assessed can affect, for example, the immune system, cholesterol levels, liver enzymes, and birth weight. According to the National Food Agency, the vast majority in Sweden today receive less PFAS than the value Efsa proposes. But in places where the drinking water is polluted by high levels, the value can be exceeded.
The limit on measures will need to be
reviewed With Efsa’s proposal, that limit may need to be revised, and the National Food Agency is now following up a previous survey among the country’s municipalities to see what levels of PFAS are present in Sweden’s drinking water at present.
At the same time, the EU is working on setting limit values for a variety of PFASs in drinking water in a drinking water directive. This directive specifies what a country must at least fulfill. Something that will enable Sweden to continue to use stricter limit values.