According to new Environmental Working Group (EWG) test results, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals,” have been widely found in pet food packaging.
EWG contracted an independent laboratory to test 11 bags of pet food for total fluorine, which indicates the likely presence of PFAS. Four bags with the highest concentrations of fluorine were sent for additional tests, which revealed levels of specific PFAS compounds. The tests uncovered individual PFAS in some of the pet food bags: PFBA, PFPeA, PFHxA, PFHpA, x62FTCA, x62diPAP, and PFPrA.
For cats, Meow Mix Tender Centers Dry Food Salmon and Chicken Flavors had the highest total fluorine, with 630 parts per million (ppm). More tests found two PFAS at 5.5 parts per billion (ppb) in the Meow Mix packaging. The sample of Purina Cat Chow Complete Chicken had total fluorine at 310 ppm. Additional tests revealed the Purina packaging was contaminated with six different PFAS at 245 ppb.
For dogs, Kibbles n’ Bits Bacon and Steak flavor registered 590 ppm of total fluorine. Additional tests found two PFAS at 14.3 ppb. Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe food had total fluorine of 140 ppm.
Total fluorine tests capture a wide variety of PFAS and serve as an important screening tool for finding PFAS-based coatings and treatments usually missed by tests for specific PFAS. The high concentrations suggest that PFAS-based treatments are being used in the packaging.
No top pet food manufacturer has yet committed publicly to stopping the use of forever chemicals in packaging.