PFAS: New US lawsuit targets ‘forever chemicals’ in plastic food containers

Suit alleges Inhance failed to follow EPA rules involving dangerous PFAS chemicals and asks a judge to halt production Tom Perkins Tue 27 Dec 2022 14.00 EST A new lawsuit says many plastic containers used in the US to hold food, cleaning supplies, personal care items, and other consumer products are likely to be contaminated with toxic PFAS. It is now asking federal courts to halt their production.

The suit references soon-to-be-published research that found PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) from HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic containers leach at extremely high levels into ketchup, mayonnaise, olive oil and everyday products.

Inhance, a Houston-based company named as a defendant, produces tens of millions of consumer containers that contain PFAS, the consumer advocacy groups behind the lawsuit say. The plaintiffs ask a judge to order Inhance to follow Environmental 12/28/22, 11:50 AM New US lawsuit targets ‘forever chemicals’ in plastic food containers | PFAS | The Guardian 2/6 Protection Agency (EPA) rules that require it to receive approval for its production process.

The groups also charge that regulators have known of the potential health threat since early 2021 but have failed to eliminate it. “It’s a grave concern for me that these containers are used for food, full stop,” said Kyla Bennett, a former EPA scientist who is now with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which brought the suit with the Center for Environmental Health. “[Regulators] have known about this for a while and nobody has taken strong action to stop it, which is mind-boggling.”

PFAS are a class of about 12,000 compounds typically used to make products resist water, stains and heat. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down. They are linked to cancer, kidney disease, liver problems, immune disorders, birth defects and other serious health problems. Inhance treats plastic containers with fluorinated gas to create a barrier that helps keep products from degrading. The consumer groups say the process creates PFAS as a byproduct, including PFOA, one of the most dangerous of the class. EPA rules implemented in 2020 require companies manufacturing long-chain PFAS to submit for a safety review and approval.

By Tom Perkins Tue 27 Dec 2022 14.00 EST

New US lawsuit targets ‘forever chemicals’ in plastic food containers | The Guardian