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Report: 'Forever Chemicals' Are Present In At Least 9 Home Fertilizers

Forever Chemicals Sludge
John Flesher
This July 31, 2019 photo shows sewage sludge from the Lapeer Wastewater Treatment Plant in drying beds, where it is being stored until an arrangement is made for permanent disposal, in Lapeer, Mich. State officials ordered Lapeer to stop distributing its sludge for use as farm fertilizer after it was found to contain toxic PFAS chemicals.

A new report from the Sierra Club and the Ecology Center of Michigan says that so-called "forever chemicals" known as PFAS were found in at least nine home fertilizers made from sewage sludge.

Sonya Lunder, senior toxics advisor at the Sierra Club, says eight of the nine fertilizers tested, which can be found at stores such as Lowe's, Home Depot, and Ace, exceeded screening limits in Maine.

"These product labels can use what we think are misleading terms of 'eco', 'natural', or companies use the name 'organic,'" Lunder says.

The report recommends that consumers avoid unnecessary exposure to PFAS by checking labels for terms such as “biosolids,” “residuals,” or “municipal waste.”

The authors also say local and state action should be taken immediately to halt the use of PFAS to get them out of the wastewater system. The hormone-disrupting chemicals are used in products such as fast food wrappers, non-stick pans, and raincoats and have been linked to health issues, including cancer.