Chemicals in biodegradable food containers can leach into compost

Read the full story in Science News.

Composting biodegradable food containers cuts the amount of trash that gets sent to a landfill. But the practice may serve up some unintended consequences for human health.

That’s because the items often contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, to help repel water and oil. These persistent chemicals can leach out of the packaging and end up in compost, researchers report May 29 in Environmental Science & Technology Letters. When that compost is used, PFAS could be taken up by plants and ultimately accumulate in the bodies of people, though the health effects are still unclear.

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