(NEXSTAR) – Popular seafood brand Bumble Bee is recalling cans of smoked clams that have been found to contain so-called “forever chemicals.”
The San Diego-based company voluntarily recalled 3.75-ounce cans from a Chinese manufacturer after Food and Drug Administration tests detected chemicals known as PFAS, an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
The cans, which all have the UPC label 8660075234, were distributed to retailers nationwide.
In one of the 10 samples the FDA found the the level of PFAS was over 20,000 parts per trillion (ppt). While there still isn’t federal guidance on a safe level of PFAS in food, for water that number is .004 ppt, the Environmental Protection Agency determined last month.
“These levels are extremely high,” said Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh, of DC-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG). “Consumers should avoid eating canned clams from this company.”
PFAS earned the nickname because they don’t break down in the environment and can build up in fish, wildlife, soil and water sources, according to the CDC. The chemicals are used in wire insulation, non-stick cooking surfaces, food packaging, clothing and furniture, among other products.
“We need to turn off the tap of PFAS pollution if we want to protect our food supplies from these toxic forever chemicals,” Benesh said. “So far, the EPA has been slow to restrict the industrial releases of PFAS that can contaminate our seafood.”
Studies suggest associations between PFAS exposure and health problems that include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, developmental effects, decreased immune response, changes in liver function and increases in some types of cancer, according to the FDA.
No other Bumble Bee products are affected, and FDA officials are working with the third-party Chinese manufacturer to investigate the contamination.
Experts with the EWG pointed out that the presence of PFAS wasn’t confined to the Bumble Bee product, and that the FDA has also found at least one type of forever chemical in 60 out of 81 samples of eight different fish species.
“Toxic PFAS can bioaccumulate in mollusks like canned clams, as well as in other seafood people eat, such as fish,” said EWG Senior Scientist David Andrews, Ph.D. “Thousands of companies discharge their PFAS wastes into rivers, lakes and bays, where seafood can become contaminated.”
Anyone who bought the recalled clams should throw them away, to be reimbursed call Bumble Bee Consumer Affairs at 1-888-295-3627, or visit https://www.bumblebee.com/smokedclamrecall/.