Will your business be affected by the bans?
Per-Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) are a big topic in the food and packaging industries right now. As we approach 2023, many States' will place new restrictions against PFAS in consumer food packaging. You might be wondering whether or not your business will be affected by the new laws, and we want to help you navigate these impending changes to industry standards. Here is a breakdown of what PFAS is, why it is affecting our industry, and the current regulations throughout the US.
What is PFAS?
By the CDC’s definition, PFAS are a group of chemicals that are used to make fluoropolymer coatings that resist heat, stains, grease, oil, and water. These Fluoropolymer coatings can be found in a variety of products ranging from food packaging, cookware, some clothing, cleaning products, and more. PFAS is very common and most likely can be found in the food packaging you are currently using to serve customers, and depending on the amount, your packaging could be not only a health risk but banned in your state.
So what is the big deal, and why are many State legislatures beginning to set restrictions on products as of January 2023? PFAS is known as a ‘forever chemical,’ as they don’t break down in our environment for an alarming amount of time, causing build-up in our bodies and drinking water, lingering for generations to come. Many studies have also found that PFAS could be linked to adverse health effects in our population, including reproductive issues, developmental effects in children, hormone imbalances, and can increase risks of some forms of cancer.
In response to innumerable findings on PFAS, several states are starting to regulate or ban the use of PFAS in certain products. Washington and Maine were the first states to set bans on PFAS use in food packaging and both required alternative assessments by the State before specific uses could be banned. While other States are soon to follow in their footsteps, there are many states that are trying to get ahead of the problem by banning PFAS before more harm can be done to our environment (Misko, 2022).
If you don’t see your state listed above, the law could be proposed but not yet in effect. Reach out to your local government officials to learn more about the PFAS regulations in your state.
What to do next?
If your establishment is located in one of the states listed above, you should reach out to your packaging vendor to find out if they have completed PFAS testing, and if so what are the levels of PFAS in their products. California allows PFAS in food packaging if the amount is under 100 ppm (Part Per Million). As there is PFAS in our water system, it is impossible to have 0 ppm without detection.
Here at This Element, we believe in moving the public towards using less harmful packaging for the planet, and ourselves. We have recently had PFAS testing done, and our packaging PFAS levels came in at 17 PPM, far below California’s maximum limit and in accordance with their legislation. If you are in need of friendlier packaging, that is safe under your state's restrictions, shop our products here.
If you would like to get in touch with someone from our team who can help guide you through these new packaging guidelines, please email us at email@example.com