Read the full article by Natasha Foote (EURACTIV)

“The use of persistent and health-harming PFAS chemicals in disposable food packaging remains widespread across Europe, according to a new report, which highlights the role of regulation in reducing exposure to these chemicals.

The study, which was carried out by Czech NGO Arnika, together with the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), CHEM Trust, and six other European NGOs, found that PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) continue to be widely used in disposable food packaging and tableware in Europe.

In total, 38 out of the 99 samples (38%) collected from takeaways, supermarkets and e-shops in 6 European countries are suspected to have been treated with PFAS chemicals for oil repellency.

While 32 out of 42 samples selected for chemical analysis (76%) show intentional treatment with PFAS, traces of PFAS were detected in all samples selected for lab analysis, including samples that were not intentionally treated with PFAS. 

These so-called ‘forever chemicals’ are extremely persistent, as they do not readily decompose.

This leads to the contamination of drinking water, soil or air, where they are thought to accumulate in the environment and, subsequently, the food chain. 

Scientific studies have associated exposure to a number of PFAS with severe adverse health effects, including cancer, and impacts on the immune, reproductive, and hormone systems.

The study authors also point out that studies have indicated that PFAS can migrate from the packaging into the food, adding to the overall PFAS exposure of the general population…”