Over 100 environmental and health groups urge US Congress to ban PFAS in food packaging
More than 100 environmental health-focused groups in the US have written to the United States Congress urging them to pass the ‘Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act’ which would prohibit any food packaging containing intentionally added PFAS from being sold nationwide. The bill is currently under consideration by the House and Senate and, if passed, would be a huge triumph for environmental safety standards.
PFAS are a family of chemicals that hardly degrade in the environment, this had led to them being known as ‘forever chemicals.’ They are used in food packaging to repel both grease and water and can leach into the food we eat and the water we drink, making them a very real and urgent threat to human health. In their letter to Congress the environmental groups particularly highlight the risk of “creating a long-term source of chemical pollution that makes its way back to people through our drinking water, food, and air”.
While 11 states across the US have already moved to ban PFAS in food packaging, this letter calls for Congress to enact a ban across the nation. It highlights scientific evidence that shows exposure to PFAS may be linked to the development of some cancers, lower birth weights and immune system suppression. While some restaurant brands are voluntarily moving towards reducing PFAS in their food packaging, a 2020 report by Toxic Free Future found that many of the most popular fast-food chains still regularly dish up PFAS with their takeout menu. This highlights the need for robust legislation to protect us and the environment from toxic chemicals, rather than relying on voluntary actions from brands.
Looking a little closer to home, several EU Member States are working on a PFAS group restriction. In the UK, CHEM Trust is urging the UK government to ban all PFAS in non-essential uses by 2025. The longer we wait for legislation to address PFAS, the more PFAS continue to pollute the globe for us and for future generations.
We hope that the US Congress heeds the warnings set down in this letter, and we encourage the EU and the UK government to enact legislation that will help achieve a global toxic-free environment.
Read more about CHEM Trust’s work on PFAS here.