Read the full article by the NDRC

California lawmakers have approved legislation to ban the use of the ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS in paper-based food packaging and to require disclosure of toxic substances in cookware, sending the bill to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature. 

The bill, AB 1200, known as the California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act of 2021 and authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), will protect consumers and the environment from PFAS and other harmful chemicals by: 

  • Banning paper-based food packaging using PFAS chemicals starting January 1, 2023
  • Requiring cookware manufacturers starting January 1, 2024, to disclose the presence of chemicals in their products that are of concern for human health or the environment
  • Prohibiting misleading advertising on cookware packaging as early as January 1, 2023  

Cosponsors of the legislation include Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Center for Environmental Health, Clean Water Action, Environmental Working Group and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). 

‘Most people don’t realize there are PFAS in everyday items including food packaging. PFAS is a massive global public health issue. It is imperative that we stop adding to the problem, and eliminate PFAS use wherever possible,’ said Avinash Kar, director of state health policy for NRDC. ‘This bill will do just that by banning the unnecessary use of PFAS in paper-based food packaging.’

PFAS are widely used in paper-based food packaging made from plant fibers, such as cardboard, for their water and grease resistant properties. Examples of food packaging that often contain PFAS include paper wraps, liners, bags, sleeves, dinnerware (plates, bowls, trays), and takeout containers made of molded fiber. The chemicals can migrate from the packaging into our food, contaminate soil when the packaging is composted, and pose contamination risks for water systems when the material is landfilled.  

The removal of these toxic chemicals will help protect the workers making these products, the consumers using them, the communities living near their production or disposal, and vulnerable populations already bearing a disproportionate burden of environmental pollution.”…