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The Guardian reports that the Environmental Working Group, an American activist organization, has found that about 20 million acres of U.S. farmland may be contaminated with PFAS, a class of substances known as “forever chemicals,” that include about 9,000 compounds used to make substances resistant to fire, water, or heat (May 8, 2022). Many industries use PFAS in a wide array of consumer products, and the substances eventually find their way into the nation’s sewer systems. They then make their way into farmland via fertilizer obtained from sewage treatment plants—fertilizer that is actually “repackaged” sludge composed of a combination of human and industrial waste, which is expensive to otherwise dispose of.
Regulators do not require sewage sludge to be tested for PFAS. “All sewage sludge is thought to contain the dangerous chemicals,” according to The Guardian, “and the compounds have recently been found to be contaminating crops, cattle, water and humans on farms where biosolids were spread.” It has been found that PFAS wind up in crops grown in affected soils. PFAS do not easily break down, and they “have been linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, liver problems, birth defects, immunosuppression and more.”
The Bible clearly shows that God intended humans to dispose of their waste far from their living spaces (Deuteronomy 23:13). However, human greed has inspired many practices in which the long-term consequences are not known or are ignored. The Scriptures reveal that all of creation cries out in agony as it awaits the return of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:19–24). At His return, God will institute good agricultural practices that will yield both abundance and human well-being (Amos 9:13–14). To learn more about the future of the earth, be sure to read or listen to our encouraging booklet The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?