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Voluntary Removal of PFAS in Food Packaging via FDA Efforts

Posted on March 04, 2024

PFAS have been detected in blood from nearly all samples representative to the US population. Exposures to certain PFAS compounds at elevated concentrations have been found to be associated with a variety of health effects. Numerous studies attribute the vast majority of the general public’s PFAS exposures (perhaps 90% or more) to dietary sources.

On February 28, 2024, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that grease-proofing materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are no longer being sold for use in food packaging in the US. The FDA is not announcing any regulation or ban, but rather the manufacturing industry has voluntarily removed PFAS from food packaging via FDA efforts, thus these products are no longer being sold in the US. These packaging products include fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, take-out paperboard containers, and pet food bags. According to the FDA, this recent action will result in “the major source of dietary exposure to PFAS” being eliminated, since PFAS can migrate from packaging materials into food. These developments also have significant impacts on the composting industry, as the use of PFAS compounds in food packaging has impacted some sources of composting materials, which has led to PFAS soil contamination.

In parallel, some states have regulations in place to ban PFAS use in food packaging. Such a law has been in place in California since January 1, 2023 (AB 1200) and other states have instated similar regulations, including Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

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