Coca-Cola and Simply Orange Juice are facing a class-action lawsuit after it was revealed that their supposedly all-natural juice is actually contaminated with toxic PFAS at levels “hundreds of times” above federal advisory limits for drinking water.
The suit was filed in New York and is asking a judge to order the company to pay the plaintiffs damages. Their complaint points out that Simply Orange’s claims of using “all natural ingredients” with “nothing to hide” are false.
By saying the company uses “filtered water,” the company leads “reasonable consumers to believe that additional care has been taken to remove any incidental chemicals or impurities,” the suit states.
“In reality, testing has revealed that the product contains [PFAS], a category of synthetic chemicals that are, by definition, not natural,” it continued. The suit also alleged that third-party testing found two of the most dangerous types of these chemicals, which have been phased out of products in the U.S. but continue to contaminate the environment.
What Are PFAS And Why Are They Dangerous?
So, what are PFAS? The letters stand for “Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.” It’s a class of chemicals that are typically used to make certain products resistant to water, stains, and heat. They’re commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they don’t naturally break down. They have also been linked to cancer, fetal complications, liver disease, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders and other serious health issues.
Water is usually how people are exposed to PFAS, but they have also been found in certain foods. The FDA has taken few steps to address the dangers of these chemicals, and researchers say the organization is falling behind when it comes to testing for PFAS.
“As we get better and better able to measure PFAS at lower levels and the FDA falls further behind on what it is testing … then you’re going to keep seeing these lawsuits pop up,” said Tom Neltner, a chemicals policy director with the Environmental Defense Fund. This organization is a non-profit that is working to pressure the FDA into taking action on the topic of PFAS.
It’s unknown how or why these PFAS ended up in Simply Orange—it could have been through the water that is mixed with the juice, the packaging, or the fruit itself. Hopefully, this lawsuit will lead companies to take a closer look at the products they are putting on shelves.