New York Ban On PFAS In Food Packaging Is Now Law

In August 2020, we flagged that New York took a significant step in becoming the third state in the country to ban the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging <>. At the time, the legislation (S.8817 <> and A.4739-C <>) was passed by the New York State Legislature, but had not been signed into law by Governor Cuomo. On December 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo took the final step and signed the PFAS food packaging ban it into law, joining Maine and Washington in banning the use of PFAS in food packaging. The bill broadly bans the use of all PFAS, a class of over 7,000 chemicals that include PFOA, PFOS, and GenX. This is significant, as the vast majority of PFAS remain unstudied for their potential impact to human health. In addition, the bill prohibits anyone from “distributing, selling, or offering for sale” any food in packaging that contains PFAS. This ban goes into effect in 2023.
Both Washington and Maine have already passed legislation banning the use of PFAS in food packaging. In 2018, Washington amended its own law concerning toxics in packaging, which included a ban on PFAS in food packaging to take effect by January 2022, as long as the Washington Department of Ecology is able to identify a safer alternative in the meantime. Similarly, in June 2019, the Maine Governor signed into law a rule that prohibits the sale of PFAS-containing food packaging that will take effect once the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is able to identify a safer alternative. Unlike the New York just signed by Governor Cuomo, both Maine and Washington have prerequisites of finding safe alternatives to PFAS that must be met before PFAS-containing food packaging is banned.