Toxic Chemicals Found in Garden Fertilizers, Sierra Club Says

Gardeners can unwittingly bring toxic chemicals into their homes with fertilizers made from sewage sludge, according to a report by the environmental group Sierra Club.

The group tested nine fertilizer products from across the U.S. marketed as “eco” or “natural.’’ All nine contained levels of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, a class of widely used industrial chemicals that persist for decades in the environment. Eight of the products exceeded screening limits for the chemicals set by Maine, where the laws are the most robust in the U.S.

PFAS chemicals don’t break down and can accumulate in the environment and the body over time, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The group is calling for the EPA to “act with urgency” to keep PFAS out of sewer systems and for fertilizer companies to clearly label products that are made with sludge.

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