‘Forever Chemicals’ Are Found in Some Milk, Including Organic


A Consumer Reports investigation highlights gaps in how the U.S. tests and regulates PFAS in food

By Lauren Kirchner Data visualizations by Andy Bergmann
May 2, 2024

It was November 2016 when one of the earliest warning signs flashed, in the form of an unassuming and very unlucky dairy farm in Arundel, Maine.

That’s when Fred Stone learned that water on his farm contained high levels of PFAS. The source of the pollution was later found to be recycled sewage sludge, which he had been told for many years was a safe fertilizer. But per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—otherwise known as “forever chemicals” for their persistence in the environment and in humans—have been linked to cancer, immunity and endocrine problems, and infertility.

The chemicals had contaminated not just his body but his cows and their milk. The land that three generations of his family had worked on for over a century was now toxic.

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