“San Francisco is set to ban the sale or use of single-use food service ware made with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).

Earlier this month, the California city’s mayor approved Ordinance 201-18, amending existing food service and packaging waste reduction laws.

The updated law will require single-use items used for prepared, takeout and leftover food  – such as bowls, plates, trays, cups, lids, straws, utensils and napkins – to be ‘fluorinated chemical free’.

It also covers single-use food service ware accessories, such as condiment packets, chopsticks, cup sleeves, napkins, stirrers and toothpicks…

Jonathan Corley, a spokesperson for the chemical industry trade association FluoroCouncil, said the ban was ‘unnecessary, contrary to sound science and will provide no further benefits to public health or the environment.’

The use of PFASs in food packaging is already thoroughly regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Mr Corley told Chemical Watch, and the agency has determined the chemicals ‘are safe for their intended use’…

But Gretchen Lee Salter, interim director of the NGO Safer States, praised San Francisco’s ‘forward thinking’ on the issue.

‘Taking PFAS out of food packaging will not only prevent exposure during the use of the packaging but also after it is disposed, since they have been shown to leak into compost,’ she told Chemical Watch…

San Francisco’s move comes as the use of PFASs in food contact materials (FCMs) faces mounting pressure.

In March, Washington became the first US state to pass a law prohibiting the substances in certain FCMs. The ban takes effect from 1 January 2022, subject to the availability of safer alternatives.

And New York has restricted state agency purchasing of food containers containing them.

The American Academy of Pediatrics named fluorinated chemicals as an ‘additive of most concern’ in a July policy statement calling for increased regulation of food contact materials.

And in March, the industry-backed Food Safety Alliance for Packaging issued a guidance document, urging suppliers to avoid such substances as PFAS when alternatives exist.

Meanwhile, the NGO Mind the Store campaign is speaking with major food retailers to speed their removal from FCMs and will announce its progress in its ‘retailer report card’ later this year.

Policies like San Francisco’s mark the ‘beginning of the end’ for PFASs, said the NGO.”

Read the full article by Tammy Lovell