California State Legislature approves ban on PFAS in packaging
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California State Legislature approves ban on PFAS in packaging

09 Sep 2021 (Last Updated September 9th, 2021 15:32)

California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the bill into law.

The California State Legislature has passed a bill banning the use of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging, utensils and paper straws.

Assembly Bill 1200 prohibits the manufacture, sale and distribution of any food packaging containing PFAS in California.

From 1 January 2023, paper, paperboard and plant-based food packaging, utensils and paper straws containing PFAS will be banned.

The bill also requires manufacturers to label cookware containing toxic chemicals on product handles or coatings. This requirement will come into effect from 1 January 2024.

From 2023, manufacturers will have to publish a list of chemicals used in their pots, pans and other cookware on their websites.

In addition, the bill prohibits cookware companies from making false marketing claims regarding PFAS content.

Assemblymember Phil Ting, who authored the bill, said: “When it comes to our food, we must ensure safety.

“Under federal regulations, companies are allowed to self-certify that a chemical they’ve added to food packaging is safe. That’s not good enough for me.

“Manufacturers should be mandated to use safer alternatives.”

The bill secured 36-0 approval in the Senate and received a bipartisan, unanimous vote of 60-0 in the state Assembly.

The legislation is expected to be signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

If signed, California will be the seventh US state to ban the use of PFAS in food packaging.

Various organisations, including non-profit consumer organisation Consumer Reports, have commended lawmakers for approving the bill.

Consumer Reports senior scientist Dr Michael Hansen said: “This bill would help protect Californians from exposure to PFAS by preventing these contaminants from ending up in our environment, water supply and bodies.

“We urge Governor Newsom to protect Californians from these hazardous forever chemicals by signing this bill into law.”

PFAS consists of more than 4,700 chemicals used for manufacturing grease-resistant food packaging, non-stick cookware and stain-resistant fabrics.

These chemicals have been linked to immunotoxicity, cancer, thyroid disease, birth defects and other conditions.