Ban PFAS in Food Containers Bill vs PFAS Manufacturers and Big Chemical

A bill introduced in November, 2021 in Congress would ban toxic PFAS (“forever chemicals”) from being intentionally added to U.S. food packaging*.  The bill does not address PFAS present in third-party supply chain materials used during the manufacturing of food containers and therefore not “intentionally” added. 

The bill originally known as “Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act”** is getting another chance among U.S. legislators with S.3169 – Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act of 2021. The purpose of the legislation is to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of food packaging containing intentionally added PFAS, and for other purposes. You can read the bill here:  PDF (227KB)

*Researchers have found PFAS are frequently used in sandwich wrappers, paper straws, baking papers, carryout containers and molded fiber products like “clam shells”. The chemicals have been detected in products from a range of businesses, including fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Subway and Chipotle; grocery chains like Whole Foods; and independent restaurants and grocers that use packaging products marketed as “green”.  (Though companies like Chipotle, Freshii, McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Sweetgreen, Trader Joe’s, Wendy’s and Whole Foods have now committed to stop using packaging with the PFAS chemicals. )

PFAS are also commonly applied to nonstick aluminum wrap and in bulk plastic containers used to store flavorings. Studies show that the chemicals can leach from packaging into food and are linked to cancer, liver disease, kidney problems, decreased immunity, birth defects and other serious health problems.

**The bill was originally introduced on May 17, 2019 in a previous session of Congress, but it did not receive a vote.

Will the Ban PFAS in Food Containers Bill Pass This Time?

It is questionable.  “The bipartisan legislation introduced this week in Congress would ban PFAS “forever chemicals” in US food packaging and thereby significantly reduce exposure to the highly toxic compounds, but its passage is far from certain as a fight with industry allies in the Senate looms.

Despite mounting evidence of the chemicals’ toxicity over the last 10 years, a similar bill that passed the House last legislative session was filibustered in the Senate, though it’s unclear who killed it because Senate rules allow members to anonymously filibuster.

PFAS manufacturers have spent heavily on lobbying and campaign contributions in recent years, and public health advocates say industry’s efforts have paid off. Last session, chemical company allies in the GOP defeated about 100 other pieces of legislation designed to reign in the chemicals’ use, and Donald Trump had promised to veto any that made it through.

Among industry allies who have opposed PFAS legislation is Senator Jim Inhofe, who sits on the environmental committee and has received at least $60,000 from PFAS producers, including $14,000 last session that was donated as legislation was referred to committee.

Senate armed forces committee member Thom Tillis last session cast the deciding vote against legislation that would have helped hold PFAS manufacturers accountable for pollution around military bases. Chemical giants DuPont and Honeywell donated to his campaign in the days after the vote.

Advocates say they expect similar opposition this time around, despite growing public pressure to act.”

source


Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (11/04/2021)

117th CONGRESS
1st Session
 
 

S. 3169

 

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of food packaging containing intentionally added PFAS, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
November 4, 2021

Ms. Hassan introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of food packaging containing intentionally added PFAS, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act of 2021”.

SEC. 2. Prohibition against food packaging containing intentionally added PFAS.

 

 

source


 

chemicals-PFAS-in fast food packaging

judges desk with gavel and scales

To see if your state has enacted laws prohibiting PFAS in food containers and/or other products, see our post here: States with New PFAS Laws


AS