SACRAMENTO, Calif. – State legislation that would ban the toxic “forever chemicals” called PFAS from plant-based food packaging passed out of the California Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on Wednesday.
Assembly Bill 1200, by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would also require manufacturers to label cookware that contains toxic chemicals, and to publish on their websites a list of those chemicals present in their pots and pans.
PFAS are a large group of chemicals that cause increased risk of cancer, harm to fetal development and reduced vaccine effectiveness. They are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment and they build up in our blood and organs.
California joins other states in reducing PFAS exposure from food and food packaging.
In 2018, Washington was the first state to ban the use of PFAS in food packaging, a law that takes effect at the first of next year. Last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a ban on PFAS in paper- and plant-based food packaging, which will take effect at the end of next year. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 also bans the use of PFAS in food packaging for military meals after October 1.
“Food is a major source of exposure to PFAS,” said David Andrews, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. “In addition to PFAS leaching from food packaging into food, farmers may inadvertently contaminate their crop fields with PFAS when irrigating with contaminated groundwater or from compost.”