FDA Shares Results on PFAS Testing in Seafood

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made available testing results for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in seafood samples collected at retail. The FDA conducted this limited survey as a preliminary step to determine if a more targeted or larger seafood survey should be conducted. We tested 81 samples of clams, cod, crab, pollock, salmon, shrimp, tuna, and tilapia, most of which were imported to the United States. Using the best available science, the FDA evaluated individually the PFAS detected that have toxicological reference values.

The FDA determined that the estimated exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a type of PFAS, from the samples of canned clams, which were from China, is likely a health concern. For the canned clam samples with the two highest levels of PFOA, there would be a potential health concern for consumers who eat more than approximately 10 ounces (oz) of these clams per month, except for young children, who should limit consumption to 2 oz per month.

Research has shown that exposure to PFOA is associated with several serious health outcomes, including developmental effects, changes to liver function, reduced immune response, and increases in certain types of cancer. The levels of the other types of PFAS evaluated in the clams, as well as the PFAS evaluated for all other seafood samples are not likely to be a health concern. The FDA is working to determine the extent of PFOA in imported canned clams and PFAS in clams overall and taking action to ensure the continued safety of the U.S. food supply.

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