12 votes

‘Forever Chemicals’ Are in Your Popcorn—and Your Blood

8 comments

  1. patience_limited
    (edited )
    Link
    This is another practical reason to avoid packaged foods and beverages, besides the environmental considerations. Everything from bottled water to thermally printed labels to oil-resistant...

    This is another practical reason to avoid packaged foods and beverages, besides the environmental considerations. Everything from bottled water to thermally printed labels to oil-resistant wrappers has the potential to contaminate your food with essentially unregulated substances.

    But PFAS are another cumulative poison, like mercury, DDT, PCBs, and some other fat-soluble compounds that are highly resistant to normal metabolic processes for handling toxins. It's a sign of how degraded the U.S. EPA's regulatory capacity has become that they'll claim single high doses of PFAS are safe when they're known to bioaccumulate.

    While the most commonly used chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), is being phased out, hundreds of other PFAS are taking its place, with little evidence that they're any safer. Everything from seafood to plant tissues is showing evidence that PFAs are incorporated and concentrated up the food chain.

    Of note in the linked research summary is the current state of biosampling - there's concern that methods to analyze serum or tissues for PFAS only detect a tiny handful of the hundreds of commercially used compounds. Methods to detect total organically-bound fluorine suggest much higher exposures than the EPA's safety pronouncements consider.

    Edit: For an accessible summary on the state of PFAS safety and regulation in the US and Europe, see In Search of Safe Replacements For Harmful Chemicals Used In Cookware, Carpets, Clothing, Cosmetics and More.

    10 votes
  2. [6]
    reifyresonance
    Link
    If you're worried about this wrt microwave popcorn, or the fake butter flavor being dangerous, it's super easy and quick to make stovetop popcorn as a snack food. My favorite is Baby White Rice...

    If you're worried about this wrt microwave popcorn, or the fake butter flavor being dangerous, it's super easy and quick to make stovetop popcorn as a snack food.

    My favorite is Baby White Rice Popcorn, made with avocado oil and seasoned with salt and a little MSG.

    6 votes
    1. [5]
      ffmike
      Link Parent
      I tried for years to convince my teens to make stovetop popcorn. No luck, too much work. Then I picked up a silicone microwave popcorn popper, about twelve bucks at Amazon. Instantly popping corn...

      I tried for years to convince my teens to make stovetop popcorn. No luck, too much work. Then I picked up a silicone microwave popcorn popper, about twelve bucks at Amazon. Instantly popping corn from scratch was easy & environmentally-friendly and they stopped wanting the packaged stuff.

      Of course, for all I know it's still leaching PFAs...

      6 votes
      1. DrStone
        Link Parent
        Have you tried an air popper? My parents had one when I was growing up and it was great.

        Have you tried an air popper? My parents had one when I was growing up and it was great.

        4 votes
      2. patience_limited
        Link Parent
        Silicone rubber products don't leach PFAS, but there've been reports that they can contain toxic plasticizers (phthalates, etc.) and uncured siloxane residues. It's easy to make microwave popcorn...

        Silicone rubber products don't leach PFAS, but there've been reports that they can contain toxic plasticizers (phthalates, etc.) and uncured siloxane residues.

        It's easy to make microwave popcorn in a glass bowl with a ceramic plate on top.

        3 votes
      3. reifyresonance
        Link Parent
        I do feel like the popcorn I make in my one of those tastes weird... and it's a lot easier to burn. Still probably healthier than whatever's in packaged popcorn. It's not even that much more work...

        I do feel like the popcorn I make in my one of those tastes weird... and it's a lot easier to burn. Still probably healthier than whatever's in packaged popcorn.
        It's not even that much more work on the stove, it just takes longer and you have to shake it!

        1 vote
      4. ffmike
        Link Parent
        I agree, stovetop or air popper or bowl + plate are all great alternatives. I wonder if y'all have teenagers though...or maybe it's just mine who have cultivated laziness into an art form. I tried...

        I agree, stovetop or air popper or bowl + plate are all great alternatives. I wonder if y'all have teenagers though...or maybe it's just mine who have cultivated laziness into an art form. I tried to teach them alternatives, and ultimately the one that stuck was "here is this thing that is on the shelf next to the jar of popcorn, put popcorn in, put it in the microwave, now go do your homework."

        1 vote
  3. tea_and_cats_please
    Link
    I've taken an interest in this lately because of an as-yet undiagnosed endocrine system dysfunction. I can't get doctors to follow thru or call me back, so I've been doing a lot of reading. I...

    I've taken an interest in this lately because of an as-yet undiagnosed endocrine system dysfunction. I can't get doctors to follow thru or call me back, so I've been doing a lot of reading. I tripped across this in my reading: Men's sperm counts are plummeting. They think it's from PFAS and things like it and they think it's epigenetic, accumulating across generations.

    Apparently I placed too much faith in the EPA et. al. when I dismissed people's concerns about non-stick pans and microwaving tupperware... it seems like it's actually worse than my friend from highschool's hippy parents made it out to be, because we're all exposed whether we nuke our tupperware or not since it's bioaccumulating in the food chain. And coming at you from every angle; thermal receipt papers was one that surprised me. Apparently it can transfer from the paper to your fingers, and then to your burger you just bought. It's a super effective way to consume BPA. Who'da thunk. You can't replace your water bottles out of this one. It's like the whole world's a superfund site.

    6 votes