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‘Forever chemicals’ found in some central Maine chicken eggs

December 14, 2021 GMT

FAIRFIELD, Maine (AP) — Chicken eggs from two homesteads in central Maine contain elevated levels of toxic industrial compounds that are associated with serious health conditions, the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found.

The Bangor Daily News reported the egg contamination on Tuesday, just three weeks after authorities said deer harvested by hunters in the same Fairfield area should not be consumed as food because of elevated levels of the compounds.

Sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they last so long in the environment, these per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are used in products like nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foam and fast-food wrappers.

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The eggs containing PFAS were from two homes with high PFAS levels in their water supply, said Andrew Smith, a state CDC toxicologist. PFAS appear to be making their way into the water, and the food supply, due to the spread of municipal and industrial sludge that contained the chemicals on several farm fields in the area.

The CDC did two rounds of testing, first in late 2020, then this March after the chickens were no longer drinking the contaminated water. The amount of PFAS in the eggs had dropped significantly.

However, the soil itself is apparently also a vector for the toxins to get into chickens’ bodies, as PFAS levels went back up after chickens ranged freely.

Smith said the CDC is working to determine how the chemicals get from soil and water into poultry and livestock.

Last month’s “do not eat advisory” was for deer that fed in Fairfield area and ingested the chemicals, bringing PFAS into their meat and organs.