Researchers Find PFAS in Organic Wastes Used as Fertilizers

Researchers reporting in Environmental Science & Technology say that per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been found in samples of organic waste used as agricultural fertilizers, according to the American Chemical Society. PFAS, used in non-stick coatings, water-repellant fabrics and firefighting foams, have already been detected throughout the environment, raising toxicity concerns. This study characterized multiple classes of PFAS in organic waste products such as livestock manures, urban sewage sludges and composts, and industrial wastes, that were applied to agricultural lands in France. Over 90% of the samples contained at least one PFAS, with up to 113 compounds detected in a single sample. The team detected fewer and lower levels of PFAS in livestock manures than in wastes of urban origin. In the urban wastes, they detected high levels of PFAS compounds that are not commonly monitored, suggesting that previous studies underestimated total PFAS levels.