On January 4, 2016 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a final rule prohibiting the use of three perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) as oil and water repellents for paper and paperboard in contact with food. This amendment of the food additives regulation is in response to a petition filed by nine public interest groups in January 2015 (FPF reported).

Three mixtures of perfluorinated substances were subject of the petition and are specified as follows: 1) diethanolamine salts of mono- and bis (1H,1H,2H,2H perfluoroalkyl) phosphates where the alkyl group is even-numbered in the range C8-C18 and the salts have a fluorine content of 52.4 to 54.4% as determined on a solids basis; 2) pentanoic acid, 4,4-bis [(γ-ω-perfluoro-C8-20-alkyl)thio] derivatives, compounds with diethanolamine (CAS 71608-61-2); and 3) perfluoroalkyl substituted phosphate ester acids, ammonium salts formed by the reaction of 2,2-bis[([γ], [ω]-perfluoro C4-20 alkylthio) methyl]-1,3-propanediol, polyphosphoric acid and ammonium hydroxide.

Reproductive and developmental toxicity has been demonstrated for other long-chain perfluorinated compounds, but not for these specific PFCs. Based on structural similarity and the absence of contradictory data, it was concluded that there is no longer a reasonable certainty of no harm from the food-contact use of these three PFCs.

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FDA (January 4, 2016). “Indirect food additives: Paper and paperboard components (21 CFR Part 176).

Joe Whitworth (January 5, 2016). “Food contact substances banned as industry says they are no longer used.Food Production Daily

Environmental Working Group (January 5, 2016). “FDA bans three chemicals linked to cancer from food packaging.EcoWatch

IFT (January 5, 2016). “FDA revokes approval for use of long-chain perfluorinated compounds in food packaging.

Elizabeth Grossman (January 6, 2016). “The FDA just banned these chemicals in food. Are they the tip of the iceberg?” Civil Eats

Carolyn Heneghan (January 6, 2016). “FDA bans long-chain PFCs used in food packaging, citing safety concerns.Food Dive

Rebecca Trager (January 7, 2016). “US bans three food packaging chemicals.Chemistry World