News | Food Packaging Forum https://www.foodpackagingforum.org The Food Packaging Forum makes scientific facts and expert opinions about food packaging health accessible and understandable to all Tue, 13 Apr 2021 14:19:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 US EPA reissues PFBS risk assessment   https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-epa-reissues-pfbs-risk-assessment-%e2%80%af Tue, 13 Apr 2021 14:19:25 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328867 US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) reissues risk assessment on perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS); sets specific limit for chronic exposure of 0.0003 mg/kg of body weight/day and sub-chronic exposures of 0.001 mg/kg/day

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On April 8, 2021, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)announced the publication of an updated version of its perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS; CAS 375-73-5) risk assessment, which sets specific limits for safe long-term (chronic) as well as shorter, sub-chronic exposures. 

Since the inauguration of the new US administration, many US EPA decisions made under the previous one have been under review. The PFBS risk assessment released in January 2021 was retracted and re-released again now after passing the necessary steps and going through internal and external reviews.  

The previous assessment had been criticized widely for including a range of levels for PFBS that would enable industry or state officials to choose higher levels for safety standards. This issue was addressed in the latest version by setting specific reference dose values of 0.0003 mg/kg of body weight/day for safe chronic exposure to PFBS as well as a limit for shorter, sub-chronic exposures of 0.001 mg/kg/day. 

The aim of determining single values was to enable public entities to determine whether actions are required to protect the public from harmful exposures. Senior scientist Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development at the US EPA, commented:“This PFBS assessment reflects the best available science, involved extensive federal, state, and public engagement, and is critical to EPA efforts to help communities impacted by PFAS.”  

PFBS is a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) applied in food contact materials such as silicones and printing inks (see the FCCdbdatabase), as well as a replacement for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; CAS 335-67-1) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS; CAS 1763-23-1). Like multiple other PFAS, PFBS has been linked to adverse health effects in animal exposure studies, for example, on the thyroid, reproductive organs, fetal development, and kidney function (see the background page on PFAS). In January 2020, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)also recognized PFBS as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) (FPF reported) and added it to its Candidate List (FPF reported).   

Read More 

US EPA (April 8, 2021). “EPA Releases Updated PFBS Toxicity Assessment After Rigorous Scientific Review. 

US EPA (April 8, 2021). “Human Health Toxicity Values for Perfluorobutane Sulfonic Acid and Related Compound Potassium Perfluorobutane Sulfonate.”  

US EPA (January 2021). “Human Health Toxicity Values for Perfluorobutane Sulfonic Acid (CASRN 375-73-5) and Related Compound Potassium Perfluorobutane Sulfonate (CASRN 29420-49-3).” (pdf) 

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Lidl and Colruyt trial EcoScore label https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/lidl-and-colruyt-trial-ecoscore-label Tue, 13 Apr 2021 11:12:51 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328861 Retailers Lidl and Colruyt announce testing front-of-pack label EcoScore; uses life cycle assessment to estimate ecological footprint based on climate change, water use, land use, acidification; considers packaging recyclability; if test-phase successful Lidl will consider implementation in all its German locations

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On April 9, 2021, the news provider Dairy Reporter published an article on the announcement of retailers Lidl and Colruyt plan to test the EcoScore food label for their product lines.

In January 2021, the front-of-pack food label EcoScore was introduced to help consumers more easily assess the environmental impact of a product through color coding and a score out of 100. The score also takes into account the product’s packaging, and a score reduction of up to 15 points is applied to products with packaging that is not recyclable.

So far, the label has been taken up mainly by small French food companies such as FoodCheríFrigo Magic, and Seazon. The two big retailers Colruyt and Lidl have now also announced to trial EcoScore for their own apps and specific product lines.

The calculation of the score relies on specific LCA data from the ADEME’s (Agence de la transition écologique) Agribalyse project. The French agency has previously evaluated the environmental impact of at least 2500 products and compiled them into a database. The ecological footprint label considers, among others, impacts such as climate change, water use, land use as well as acidification.

Critics of the Eco-Score remarked the label may oversimplify the assessment of a product’s environmental impact for the consumer. However, Christian Reynolds, senior lecturer at the Centre for Food Policy commented that “systems like this are important because they are accessible and easy to interpret.”

Lidl plans to start discussions on the use of the Eco-Score with representatives from civil society, industry, and regulators, followed by a test phase in its Berlin branches. Depending on the success of the trial, Lidl will consider implementing the EcoScore across all its German businesses.

Read More

Katy Askew (April 9, 2021). “Eco-Score’s European expansion: Lidl and Colruyt adopt environmental footprint labelling.” Dairy Reporter

Flora Southey (January 21, 2021). “First Nutri-Score for nutrition, now Eco-Score for the environment: New FOP lands in France.” Dairy Reporter

Reference

Eco-Score (2021). “Eco-score presentation.”

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Study links phthalates and lower cognitive ability in infants https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/study-links-phthalates-and-lower-cognitive-ability-in-infants Mon, 12 Apr 2021 13:53:08 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328858 New research study investigates phthalate levels in urine from pregnant women and cognitive abilities of 159 infants, find associations between high levels of phthalate exposure and slower information processing, especially in boys; determines that associations can be found much earlier than previously thought

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In February 2021, a new study was published by a research team led by neuro toxicologist Susan Schantz in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which found a correlation between phthalate exposure during pregnancy and altered cognitive processing in 159 seven-and-a-half-month-old infants.

Phthalates are widely used chemical additives in plastic packaging and consumer products. Exposure to these substances has been previously linked to impaired hormone function and embryo development in multiple animal studies.

So far, studies investigating phthalates’ effects on children’s cognitive development merely focused on early and middle childhood. In the presented article, the researchers investigated whether there was an association between the cognitive abilities of 159 seven-and-a-half months old infants and the presence of the three phthalates diethyl phthalate (DEP; CAS 84-66-2), di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP; CAS 117-81-7), and diisononyl phthalate (DINP; 28553-12-0) in their mother’s urine during pregnancy.

The results showed a correlation between slower information processing in eye-tracking tasks and higher phthalate exposure levels, especially for boys. Schantz added that the results also showed that effects can be detected much earlier in a child’s life than previously thought.

The presented project is part of the Illinois Kids Development Study (IKIDS), which explores the effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals on children’s physical and behavioral development from birth to middle childhood.

Reference

Merced-Nieves et al. (February 2021). “Associations of Prenatal Exposure to Phthalates with Measures of Cognition in 4.5-Month-Old Infants.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Read More

Diana Yates (April 6, 2021). “Study links prenatal phthalate exposure to altered information processing in infants.” Illinois News Bureau 

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Study finds 109 industrial chemicals in pregnant women https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/study-finds-109-industrial-chemicals-in-pregnant-women Mon, 12 Apr 2021 10:01:47 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328857 Scientists publish study in Environmental Science & Technology detecting 109 industrial chemicals in blood samples from 30 pregnant women and newborns, includes 55 chemicals never-before reported in humans; higher socioeconomic status correlates with relatively higher exposures to some chemicals; detected 42 chemicals for which no information on use was available

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Scientists publish study in Environmental Science & Technology detecting 109 industrial chemicals in blood samples from 30 pregnant women and newborns, includes 55 chemicals never-before reported in humans; higher socioeconomic status correlates with relatively higher exposures to some chemicals; detected 42 chemicals for which no information on use was available

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Green Alliance: Europe must halve resource consumption by 2050 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/green-alliance-europe-must-halve-resource-consumption-by-2050 Mon, 12 Apr 2021 09:57:27 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328856 UK think tank’s report shows culprits of current approach to resource management, suggests solutions, advocates for target to half resource consumption by 2050; provides roadmaps for specific sectors and strategically important materials; recommends identifying and setting interim goals to encourage investments in sustainable business models and infrastructure

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UK think tank’s report shows culprits of current approach to resource management, suggests solutions, advocates for target to half resource consumption by 2050; provides roadmaps for specific sectors and strategically important materials; recommends identifying and setting interim goals to encourage investments in sustainable business models and infrastructure

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UNWRAPPED Project releases FCM factsheets https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/unwrapped-project-releases-fcm-factsheets Fri, 09 Apr 2021 13:50:18 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328854 Zero Waste Europe announces publication of nine factsheets as part of the UNWRAPPED Project; developed to help communicate human health risks associated with chemicals in food packaging; experts call for industry and policymakers to limit single-use packaging, take precautionary approach towards hazardous chemicals in food packaging

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On April 6, 2021, the civil society organization Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) published a toolkit with nine factsheets as part of the UNWRAPPED Project. The material was developed to help communicate the human health risks posed by chemicals that can be present in food packaging materials through providing facts and figures. The nine factsheets inform about, among others, the human health risks posed by hazardous chemicals in food packaging, policy recommendations on how to protect human health, reuse schemes, potential risks to human health posed by microplastics, recycled content in food packaging and resulting toxic chemical exposure, COVID-19 and packaging, as well as general information including which plastics are commonly used in packaging, relevant terminology and a summary of priority chemicals of concern.

The fact sheets also call for industry and policymakers to “put an end to single-use packaging” and consider taking a precautionary approach towards the intentional use of hazardous chemicals in packaging that can migrate into food and affect human health.

Read More

ZWE (April 6, 2021). “The UNWRAPPED Project’s toolkit. – Exposing the health risk of food packaging chemicals.”

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US FDA adds seven new substances to FCS inventory https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-fda-adds-seven-new-substances-to-fcs-inventory Fri, 09 Apr 2021 10:28:22 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328853 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adds seven new entries to its Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substance (FCS) Notifications

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In an article published on April 8, 2021law firm Keller and Heckman LLP (KH) informed that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added seven entries to its Inventory of Effective Food Contact Substance (FCS) Notifications. Food contact substances within the inventory are those that “have been demonstrated to be safe for their intended use.”

Among the new entries is the substance hydroquinone (CAS 123-31-9). This chemical is also present, among others, in the Swiss list for food contact plastics, according to the Food Contact Chemicals database (FCCdb).

The new substances are included with the following entry numbers:

  • 2112: An aqueous mixture containing peroxyacetic acid (CAS 79-21-0), hydrogen peroxide (CAS 7722-84-1), acetic acid (CAS 64-19-7), and 1-hydroxyethylidene-1,1-diphosphonic acid (CAS 2809-21-4)
  • 2111: Methacrylic acid, polymer with butyl acrylate, styrene, itaconic acid and acrylamide, sodium salt
  • 2108: Silicic acid, aluminum magnesium sodium salt (CAS 12040-43-6). Replaces notification 2027.
  • 2107: Hydroquinone (CAS 123-31-9). Replaces notification 1460.
  • 2095: Bicyclo[2.2.1]heptane-2,3-dicarboxylic acid, calcium salt (1:1), (1R,2R,3S,4S)-rel- (CAS 839683-04-4)
  • 2039: Diallyldimethylammonium chloride polymer with acrylamide (CAS 26590-05-6) produced by copolymerizing up to 5 weight percent of acrylamide and up to 95 weight percent of diallyldimethylammonium chloride
  • 2007: 2-Propenoic acid, polymer with sodium phosphinate (1:1), neutralized with sodium, calcium, and/or magnesium (including Na salt; CAS 129898-01-7 and Mg Na salt; CAS 935545-65-6)

Read More

KH (April 6, 2021). “FDA Adds Seven New Substances to its Inventory of Effective FCS Notifications.”

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We Choose Reuse campaign publishes open letter https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/we-choose-reuse-campaign-publishes-open-letter Fri, 09 Apr 2021 09:47:34 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328846 Break Free from Plastic announces open letter as part of ‘We Choose Reuse’ campaign, demands strong political action to set up successful reuse systems; highlights current challenges such high investment and operating costs; letter already signed by 93 businesses and will be delivered to officials on June 16, 2021

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In an article from March 15, 2021, the civil society alliance Break Free from Plastic announced an open letter open for signature by businesses as part of their “We Choose Reuse” campaign, in which it demands strong political actions in Europe to set up successful reuse systems.

In the document, the campaigners describe the current challenges hindering successful implementation of reuse systems, which include, among others, high investment and early operating costs to run reuse/refill systems, the “unfairly low production costs of toxic and disposable single-use products,” lack of legislative clarity, low level of engagement of the public and authorities to encourage citizens to take up reuse options, as well as, the absence of standardized systems and designs to enable upscaling.

By signing the initiative, stakeholders commit to supporting “a truly circular, zero waste, and non-toxic economy, by eliminating single-use products and offering reuse solutions, services, and products, e-commerce, and supply chain solutions.” Further, the letter argues it is necessary to discourage linear consumption patterns and over-focus on recycling. The campaigners demand political decision-makers to take actions that “create [..] conditions for reuse and refill business models to thrive” and define “ambitious reuse targets and support these by the necessary measures, standards, and legislation.”

Nathan Dufour, Consumption and Production Coordinator at Zero Waste Europe, commented that “reuse systems are the only solution forward to effectively move away from single-use plastics. We are at a critical time for businesses, with clients demanding greater corporate social responsibility and alternatives to single-use.” Already 93 businesses have signed the letter, which will be officially delivered to decision-makers on June 16, 2021, for Refill Day.

Read More:

We Choose Reuse (March 15, 2021). “A coalition of environmental organizations seek corporate allies to demand strong policy for reuse systems in Europe.”

We Choose Reuse (March 2021). Businesses for Reuse: Uniting to create a circular economy & sustainable future.

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As You Sow: Investments in plastics may become stranded assets https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/as-you-sow-investments-in-plastics-may-become-stranded-assets Thu, 08 Apr 2021 12:59:12 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328840 Civil society organization As You Sow releases report investigating financial risks of shifting investments from fossil fuels to petrochemical sector, including plastics; finds $400 billion at risk of becoming stranded assets, relies on rising demand in low-income countries; neglects climate impacts, plastic pollution, circular economy goals; advises investors to re-evaluate risks and take action

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On April 7, 2021, civil society organization As You Sow announced the release of a report that investigates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks associated with shifting investments from fossil fuel energy projects to petrochemical and plastic-based products.

The demand for fossil fuel products is expected to decline as the world transitions to renewable energy sources to prevent climate change. Oil and gas companies are responding by shifting significant investments to the petrochemical sector, for example, to plastic packaging production, for which demand is expected to increase. The report’s authors question this shift by exploring neglected financial risks from related and growing environmental, social, and governance issues.

Much of the expected increases in demand for petrochemical products are depending on exports to lower-income countries and their increased demand for plastics. Yet, plastic pollution and mismanagement have become a major global issue, with increasing awareness among government officials and consumers to reduce plastic pollution and consumption of virgin plastics as well as holding producers accountable for resulting environmental pollution. Additionally, the report argues that a plastic lifecycle itself has a significant climate impact. If unabated, fossil-based plastics will account for 19% of the world’s carbon emissions under business-as-usual growth in 2040.

As You Sow found, among others, that investments in petrochemicals and plastic worth about $400 billion are at risk of becoming stranded assets in a world that will strive to achieve a “net-zero” circular economy. The authors of the report strongly advocate investors critically re-evaluate their portfolios to “avoid locking in infrastructure that may be unnecessary, harmful, and uneconomic.”

Read More

As You Sow (April 7, 2021). “Plastics: the last straw for big oil?

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EU MEP calls for removing hazardous chemicals in FCMs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-mep-calls-for-removing-hazardous-chemicals-in-fcms Thu, 08 Apr 2021 10:57:18 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328839 Belgian Member of European Parliament (MEP) Frédérique Ries publishes article urging European Commission to follow-through in restricting hazardous chemicals in revised food contact materials (FCMs) regulation; criticizes REACH restricted chemicals still being allowed for use in FCMs

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Belgian Member of European Parliament (MEP) Frédérique Ries publishes article urging European Commission to follow-through in restricting hazardous chemicals in revised food contact materials (FCMs) regulation; criticizes REACH restricted chemicals still being allowed for use in FCMs

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ECHA seeking experts to join RAC and SEAC https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-seeking-experts-to-join-rac-and-seac Thu, 08 Apr 2021 10:53:45 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328838 European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announces call for experts to join its Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC); roles to support chemical risk assessments, chemical substitutions and alternatives analyses, socio-economic analyses; applications accepted until May 7, 2021

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European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announces call for experts to join its Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis (SEAC); roles to support chemical risk assessments, chemical substitutions and alternatives analyses, socio-economic analyses; applications accepted until May 7, 2021

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Germany notifies WTO of MOAH restrictions https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/germany-notifies-wto-of-moah-restrictions Wed, 07 Apr 2021 07:56:54 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328821 German authorities notify World Trade Organization (WTO) about intention to restrict mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) in food contact materials and articles made from recycled paper and board; sets migration limit to food (<0.5 mg/kg) and food simulant (<0.15 mg/kg); will come into effect three years after publication

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On March 22, 2021, testing provider SGS reported that the German authorities have notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of their intent to restrict mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH) in food contact materials and articles made from recycled paper and board under the nation’s Consumer Goods Ordinance (Bedarfsgegenständeverordnung, BedGgstV).

The draft regulation attached to the WTO notification provides information such as a definition for waste paper pulp, functional barriers, and MOAH. Further, the document sets limits for MOAH migration to food (<0.5 mg/kg) and food simulant (<0.15 mg/kg) from food contact paper, paperboard, as well as cardboard made of recycled paper. The ordinance will come into effect three years after publication.

In February 2020, a review article written by scientists from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) had revealed a lack of safety data available on MOAH and that these impurities should be minimized in food and its contaminating sources (FPF reported). In August 2020, the European Commission had announced a draft version of this notification and opened it for public comment (FPF reported).

Read More

SGS (March 31, 2021). “Germany proposes to regulate MOAH in food contact recycled paper and board.”

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (March 15, 2021). “Draft of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.” (pdf)

WTO (March 22, 2021). “G/SPS/N/DEU/12.” (pdf)

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India plans ban on single-use plastic items https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/india-plans-ban-on-single-use-plastic-items Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:19:15 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328810 Government authority publishes draft ban set to come into force in three phases; would ban import, manufacture, and sale of plastic candy and ice cream sticks after January 1, 2022; expands ban to include plates, cups, cutlery, trays, certain wrapping films after July 1, 2022; proposal open for public comment until May 2021

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In an article published on April 5, 2021, law firm Keller and Heckman reported on a draft notification released by the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on March 12, 2021 announcing a proposed ban on certain single-use plastic products and restrictions on plastic take-away bags. The proposal sets out new rules that would come into force in three phases: 1) From September 30, 2021, non-woven plastic take-away bags must be at a minimum 240 microns thick. An exception would be made for compostable plastic bags. 2) From January 1, 2022, a range of single-use plastic items would be banned from manufacture, import, distribution, and sale including candy and ice-cream sticks. 3) From July 1, 2022, this ban would be extended to comprise additional food contact articles such as plates, cups, cutlery, straws, trays, stirrers, and certain wrapping films.

The draft notification is currently open for public comment until 60 days after publication (May 9, 2021). The proposal follows an earlier announcement from the government in 2019 in which it announced its intention to ban many of the same items (FPF reported).

Read More

KH (April 5, 2021). “India Proposes Phase Out of Single-Use Plastic Items by 2022.”

Reference

The Gazette of India (March 11, 2021). “Draft plastic waste notification – CG-DL-E-11032021-225824.” (pdf)

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US CDC releases updated biomonitoring data https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-cdc-releases-updated-biomonitoring-data Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:12:47 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328809 New set of data tables from US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in four volumes; includes human exposure data for persistent organic pollutants, pesticides, and a focus on exposures of adult cigarette smokers; over 70 new chemicals measured including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

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New set of data tables from US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in four volumes; includes human exposure data for persistent organic pollutants, pesticides, and a focus on exposures of adult cigarette smokers; over 70 new chemicals measured including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

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Report compares US state recycling rates https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/report-compares-us-state-recycling-rates Tue, 06 Apr 2021 11:12:07 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328808 Ball Corporation commissioned report compares recycling rates across US states for rigid plastics, glass, aluminum and steel cans, and cardboard for 2018; best overall recycling rates found for Maine (72%); results based on multiple data sources including US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states municipalities, waste processors; finds high recycling rates correlate with presence of deposit return systems, curb recycling, extended producer responsibility schemes

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On March 30, 2021, consultancy Eunomia announced the release of a report commissioned by food packaging manufacturer Ball Cooperation that compares recycling rates across the US state-by-state.

The report is the first comprehensive analysis providing an overview of the recycling rates among US-states. The analysis focused, among others, on plastic bottles and trays, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans, as well as cardboard. Each US state is ranked according to material-specific recycling rates and an overall recycling rate based on data from the year 2018. The three states with the best overall recycling rates were Maine (72%), Vermont (62%), and Massachusetts (55%).

Previous analyses often based reported recycling rates on data describing the collection. However, this does not accurately reflect recycling rates due to the substantial removal of contaminants before the actual reprocessing of new products takes place. The presented report explains that it bases its results on actual recycling rates calculated using data provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, counties, municipalities, sorting facilities as well as material processors.

The report found that higher recycling rates correlated with more comprehensive and current data as well as with state-led reporting systems due to more accurate measurements. Furthermore, according to the authors, deposit return systems, curbside recycling as well as extended producer responsibility are identified to be important contributors to effective recycling systems.

The objective of the report was to “establish a 2018 baseline from which policymakers, service providers, operators, and investors can make informed strategic decisions on what measures are needed in the short, medium, and long term to support a circular economy, replace primary with secondary materials, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”

Several US states such as California, Washington, and New Jersey, have considered bills introducing minimum recycled content requirements in plastic packaging. Several stakeholders are advocating for an improvement of the US recycling system, among others proposing a nationwide blueprint of the recycling sector (FPF reported) and recommending key investments (FPF reported).

Read More 

Sarah Edwards, Sydnee Grushack (March 30, 2021). “The 50 States of Recycling: A State-by-State Assessment of Containers and Packaging Recycling Rates.” Eunomia

The Canmaker (March 31, 2021). “New report ranks US states based on recycling performance.”

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2nd Annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/2nd-annual-forum-on-endocrine-disruptors Tue, 06 Apr 2021 08:32:38 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328801 Event brings together EU government agencies, research institutions, stakeholders to discuss endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs); program includes presentations, panel discussions, advances in testing methods, actions on EDCs in the ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability ‘

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From 17-18 December 2020, the EU Directorate General for the Environment (DG ENV) organized its Second Annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors.

The second forum aimed to “present the actions on endocrine disruptors in the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability as well as the conclusions and recommendations of the JRC-led Fitness Check, published as an annex to this Strategy, on which the actions are based.”

The program for the forum included presentations from researchers, panel discussions, news on advanced test methods, as well as updates on the Human Biomonitoring for Europe project (HBM4EU). In addition, the European Commission (EC) and agency working groups reported on ongoing activities related to EDCs. Several civil society organizations and academia shared their progress on developing new testing and screening methods.

In the concluding remarks, Cristina de Avila, Head of the Sustainable Chemicals Unit in DG ENV, summarized: “We need to have science-based hazard criteria in the CLP legislation, as we have promised in the Chemicals Strategy, and we need action to regulate chemicals in consumer products, to obtain a high level of protection, in particular for consumers. So I think the jury is not only out, but the verdict has been given, and it is in the form of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.”

The annual forum on endocrine disruptors was originally initiated to bring together all stakeholders interested in endocrine disruptors. The First Annual Forum took place on 8 November 2019 (FPF reported).

Read More

EC (March 31, 2021). “Second Annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors.”

EC (March 31, 2021). “Second Forum on Endocrine Disruptors December 2020: Exchanging Knowledge, Identifying Challenges, Building Synergies – Forum Report.

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5th retailer report card on chemical safety https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/5th-retailer-report-card-on-chemical-safety Wed, 31 Mar 2021 15:13:16 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328794 ‘Mind the Store’ campaign publishes updated report card scoring 50 major North American retailers on their actions to remove toxic chemicals from their products; finds improvement over last year in 70% of companies reviewed, focus has remained on eliminating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), ortho-phthalates, and bisphenols from products

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In a press release published on March 30, 2020, the civil society organization Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families announced an update to their ‘Mind the Store’ campaign that reviewed and scored 50 major North American retailers on their efforts to eliminate toxic chemicals from their products.

The latest report card found that 70% of the evaluated retailers have improved over the past year. It was the first time that retailers focused their efforts on removing entire classes of chemicals from their products, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), ortho-phthalates, and bisphenols from food packaging materials impacting more than 65,000 stores worldwide.

Report co-author and ‘Mind the Store’ campaign director Mike Schade stated: “We applaud retail leaders for stepping up to drive harmful chemicals out of consumer products and packaging. Despite a global pandemic and incredibly challenging year, retailers have continued to make substantial progress in reducing and eliminating classes of toxic chemicals like PFAS.”

Laurie Valeriano, Toxic-Free Future executive director commented:The movement to ban PFAS started in Washington state and now the dominos are falling in the marketplace and other states. This is creating a perfect storm for ending the use of PFAS in food packaging.” 

For more information on retailer initiatives and commitments, please also refer to the Food Packaging Forum’s brand and retailers database.

Read More 

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (March 30, 2021). “New study finds nearly 70% of companies surveyed have improved toxic chemical safety programs.”

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (March 30, 2021). “Who’s Minding the Store? 5th annual report card on retailer actions to eliminate toxic chemicals.”

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Greenpeace advocates reuse over plastic recycling https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/greenpeace-advocates-reuse-over-plastic-recycling Wed, 31 Mar 2021 13:40:25 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328784 Greenpeace Switzerland publishes statement and report, criticizes increasing focus on plastic collection and recycling; argues this misleads consumers, hinders implementation of reuse and extended producer responsibility, recommends providing necessary infrastructure, adaptation of logistics, implementing reuse and return models

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In March 2021, civil society organization Greenpeace Switzerland published a position statement in which it criticizes plastic recycling and collection initiatives of big companies and retailers as misleading consumers and hindering the implementation of impactful changes such as reuse schemes and extended producer responsibility (EPR).

The organization argues that separate plastic collection and recycling have ecological benefits, but that they are relatively small, and most collected plastic is unrecyclable. About 90 % of all collected plastics in Switzerland are currently incinerated, contributing to increasing carbon dioxide emissions. Even if recycled, the organization explains that most processes often lead merely to downcycling of materials.

Greenpeace describes that advertising the recyclability of single-use plastic packaging, therefore, evokes a false sense of security to consumers who believe buying such products will have less negative environmental impacts. According to the article, this will lead to increased use and consumption of single-use packaging, generating more waste and aggravating associated problems in the coming years. 

Instead of increasing collection efforts for plastic and recycling, Greenpeace suggests supporting the set-up of reuse and return systems by (1) providing necessary infrastructure and cross-sector standardization, (2) developing standardized, long-life reuse containers, the adaptation of logistics, including transport by producers, and (3) implementing reuse and return models, such as refill at home, refill on the go, return from home, and return on the go. 

The statement recommends such systems be implemented collaboratively by producers, retailers, and legislators. This will, among others, require more regional supply, smaller product lines, as well as the abolishment of packaging-intensive products. The organization concludes that the ecological potential of innovative reuse solutions is higher than the ecological potential of recycling systems.

Read More

Greenpeace Schweiz (March 31, 2021). “Sackgasse plastik-recycling.” (in German)

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UN report addresses single-use plastics and LCA https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/un-report-addresses-single-use-plastics-and-lca Wed, 31 Mar 2021 10:40:42 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328776 Life Cycle Initiative led by UN Environment publishes synthesis report investigating impacts of single-use plastic products through life cycle assessment (LCA) approach; finds concept of ‘single-use’ more problematic than ‘plastic’; encourages countries to promote and incentivize replacing single-use products with reusable products; keep products at highest value in economy for as long as possible

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In March 2021, the Life Cycle Initiative hosted by the UN Environment Program announced the publication of the latest report within its series on evaluating single-use plastics and their alternatives using a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. The UN organization was tasked with compiling existing information on the topic, and a set of meta-analysis reports have now been published under the initiative that focus on investigating specific plastic products including bottles, take-away food packaging, beverage cups, cutlery, and bags. The new report provides an overview from the findings for each of these specific products as well as information on policy actions to address single-use plastic products using a life cycle approach.

The report highlights that the most critical finding from this investigation is that the aspect of products being “‘single-use’ is more problematic than [being made from] ‘plastic’.” UN member states are therefore being “encouraged to support, promote and incentivize actions that lead to keeping resources in the economy at their highest value for as long as possible, by replacing single-use plastic products with reusable products as part of a circular economy approach.” The agency notes that “this will require systems change.” Additional recommendations include also using “a range of robust information sources” in addition to LCA results, keeping the geographic and social context in mind when considering LCA results, ensuring the most feasible end-of-life option is applied within LCA studies, recognizing that trade-offs always exist in policy making, and “reducing the use of single-use products whatever the material.”

The report further provides a set of 10 case studies from different countries and regions presenting national-level actions to address pollution from single-use plastic products. It was presented during a virtual launch event in February 2021, which has been recorded and made available for viewing. A separate webinar series presenting and discussing the results from each of the product analyses has also been recorded. The initiative is now working on additional studies focused on plates, face masks, and baby diapers.

Reference

UNEP (February 2021). “Addressing Single-Use Plastic Products Pollution Using a Life Cycle Approach.” (pdf)

Read more

Life Cycle Initiative (February 2021). “Single-Use Plastic Products (SUPP) and their alternatives: Recommendations from Life Cycle Assessments.”

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Tackling the toxics in plastics packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/tackling-the-toxics-in-plastics-packaging Tue, 30 Mar 2021 20:32:05 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328768 Article in PLOS Biology discusses hazardous chemicals in plastics; highlights chemicals as critical but often missing aspect in plastic pollution discussion; proposes rethinking current approach to plastic packaging toxicity testing

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On March 30, 2021, the journal PLOS Biology published an article authored by Jane Muncke from the Food Packaging Forum (FPF) that critically reviews the migration of toxic chemicals from plastic food packaging, comments on the current approach to plastic packaging toxicity testing, and suggests three key aspects for improvement.

In her essay, Muncke argues that one widely overlooked issue of plastic packaging is the transfer of potentially harmful chemicals from packaging to food. Some migrating chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA; CAS 80-05-7) are known to be hazardous to humans, however, for many other substances, including non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), toxicity data are missing. Since migrating hazardous chemicals from plastics have been associated with chronic health effects, these known and avoidable exposure routes of hazardous chemicals should be eliminated.

However, the article argues that “[..] the current approach to understanding and improving the chemical safety of plastics food packaging [is flawed and] needs to be revised.” Muncke identifies three key aspects that need to be considered: (1) expanding the scope of toxicity testing beyond genotoxicity, (2) addressing non-monotonic dose responses in chemical risk assessment, and (3) finding practical solutions to assessing and managing mixture toxicity, i.e. identifying the hazard properties of all chemicals migrating simultaneously from plastics.

One such practical solution could be the introduction of a mixture assessment factor (MAF) for known migrating substances (FPF reported). Another concept known as “key characteristics,” originally applied to determine whether a substance is potentially carcinogenic through in vitro bioassays, has also now been developed for other groups of toxicants such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (FPF reported). Wider application of the concept could lead “to a more complete hazard characterization of chemicals migrating from plastic food packaging.” Muncke concludes: “The plastic pollution problem requires systemic thinking that shies away from quick fixes addressing only one symptom of the larger problem. Instead, robust innovations will be built on a thorough, holistic understanding of the plastics problem that must be developed by integrating all available knowledge—including hazardous chemicals—across plastic’s entire life cycle.”

The European Commission (EC) will carry out a full impact assessment for their revised food contact material (FCM) Regulation 1935/2004, and a legislative proposal is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2022 (FPF reported).

In November 2020, FPF published a publicly available food contact chemicals database (FCCdb) on intentionally added food contact chemicals (FCCs) that are globally potentially used in the manufacture of FCMs and food contact articles (FPF reported). Instructions on how to use and retrieve information from the database are available on our resources page. For more information regarding mixture toxicity and non-monotonic dose-response, Muncke discusses both concepts in the second episode of the “Unwrapping Food Packaging” video blog.

Reference

Jane Muncke (March 30, 2021).Tackling the toxics in plastics packaging.” PLOS Biology

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The Guardian investigates PFAS in blood, food packaging, and cookware https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/the-guardian-investigates-pfas-in-blood-food-packaging-and-cookware Mon, 29 Mar 2021 12:49:51 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328763 Journalist from The Guardian tests household items and his own blood for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in partnership with the University of Notre Dame and the Silent Spring Institute; analysis confirms presence of four types of PFAS in blood serum, 15 household products, food packaging and cookware; identified substances include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane-1-sulphonic acid (PFHxS)

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On February 23, 2021, The Guardian published an article in which author Tom Perkins investigated the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in several household items in the US, as well as his own blood with help of the University of Notre Dame and the Silent Spring Institute.

The analysis found his blood serum is contaminated with four types of PFAS and also confirmed their presence in 15 common household products, including food packaging, and cookware. The lab-test detected, among others, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; CAS 335-67-1) and perfluorohexane-1-sulphonic acid (PFHxS; CAS 355-46-4). The article goes on to discuss the widespread use of PFAS in various household products and provides an overview of previous efforts to quantify and map their presence in humans and products.

This analysis took place after several regulatory actions in the EU were taken regarding PFAS in 2020. On July 4, 2020, EU Regulation (EU) 2020/784 came into force that, among others, restricts the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), its salts, and PFOA-related compounds (FPF reported). On August 3, 2020, the EU notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about expanding the REACH Restriction List (Annex XVII) to include restriction of perfluorocarboxylic acids containing 9 to 14 carbon atoms in the chain (C9-C14 PFCAs). In September, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) published its final scientific opinion on PFAS in food (FPF reported) in which a daily limited uptake for different groups of PFAS was set, including PFHxS. In the US, various states are now also considering restricting the use of PFAS across various products, including food packaging (FPF reported).

Read More

ChemTrust (March 26, 2021). “Investigation finds ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS contamination in everyday household products.

Tom Perkins (February 23, 2021). “I tested my tap water, household products and cat for toxic ‘forever chemicals’.” The Guardian

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Scientists develop food packaging films based on algae https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/scientists-develop-food-packaging-films-based-on-algae Fri, 26 Mar 2021 16:25:23 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328760 Scientists from Ural Feral University publish study in Journal of Food Engineering ; develop three types of edible films for food packaging based on seaweed, alginate; describe films as water-soluble and dissolve by almost 90 percent, no special equipment needed to produce at industrial scale

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Scientists from Ural Feral University publish study in Journal of Food Engineering ; develop three types of edible films for food packaging based on seaweed, alginate; describe films as water-soluble and dissolve by almost 90 percent, no special equipment needed to produce at industrial scale

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Experts call for ban of new biodegradability promoting additives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/experts-call-for-ban-of-new-biodegradability-promoting-additives Fri, 26 Mar 2021 15:44:44 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328759 Food packaging experts call for banning a new group of biodegradability promoting additives used in food packaging, cite concerns over uncontrollable degradation, migration of and human exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals; finds them distracting from real solutions such as new business models incorporating reuse

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On March 24, 2021, news provider Packaging Digest published an article by four food packaging experts concerned about the use of new biodegradable additives in food packaging and criticizing their resulting unintended degradation and release of toxic chemicals. The authors argue that their use promotes “business as usual” practices as well as poses a significant human health risk when used in food packaging.

The article discusses a new group of non-oxo biodegradable additives that have hit the plastic manufacturing market and are being promoted as “enhancing” the biodegradability of otherwise recalcitrant plastics. The authors of the article describe these chemicals as “distractors” as they mislead and distract the public from real solutions to the plastic pollution problem. They list three reasons why they view these additives as problematic, especially when considering their use in food packaging:

Firstly, they point out that the degradation behavior is hardly controllable, with biodegradation and general disintegration of the packaging occurring also when and where it is not desired, for example outside of landfills, in recycled packaging, or during food storage. This is seen as leading to more littering, chemical pollution, and increased food waste.

Secondly, the release of degradation products and chemicals upon degradation is seen as not only posing a threat to the environment but also as a significant human health risk when migration from packaging to food occurs. This is even more important as the chemicals and their hazards can be unknown due to laws protecting confidential business information.

Thirdly, these additives are seen to hinder targeting the actual problem of single-use of food packaging. The authors write that solving this central issue will require “adopting new business models that use reusable, refillable containers. It means redesigning not only packaging but how foods are produced, processed, and consumed.”

Additives promoting oxo-degradation had been discussed in the past as a solution to reduce pollution from packaging waste. However, these additives had raised environmental pollution concerns including promotion of the fragmentation of plastics to non-degradable micro-and nano plastic particles. For this and other reasons, the effectiveness and environmental impacts of oxo-degradable plastics were questioned (FPF reported).

According to a study published in Environmental Science Technology led by Susan Selke that tested five common biodegradation promoting additives, including non-oxo additives, “no evidence was found that these additives promote and/or enhance biodegradation of PE or PET polymers.” In May 2019, the EU Council adopted the Directive (EU) 2019/904 which banned not only multiple single-use plastic product types but also oxo-degradable plastics (FPF reported).

Read More

Sand C., Muncke J., Lilienfeld R., Robertson G. (March 24, 2021). “We know that biodegradable additives in packaging are the wrong solution to the plastics problem, so why are they still on the table?” Packaging Digest

Sand C., Muncke J., Lilienfeld R., Robertson G. (March 24, 2021). “We know that biodegradable additives in packaging are the wrong solution to the plastics problem, so why are they still on the table?” Plastics Today

Selke et al (February 2015). “Evaluation of Biodegradation-Promoting Additives for Plastics.” Environmental Science and Technology

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Safe and Sustainable by Design: 1st EU stakeholder workshop https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/safe-and-sustainable-by-design-1st-eu-stakeholder-workshop Fri, 26 Mar 2021 13:03:15 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328749 European Commission holds workshop with stakeholders to discuss criteria for chemicals that are Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD); implementation of EU’s Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) will depend on clear and implementable criteria for SSbD, amongst other central pillars such as essential use and generic risk assessment

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On March 19, 2021 the European Commission (EC) held its first stakeholder workshop about the Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD) approach and criteria for chemicals. The SSbD criteria are a key element of the EC’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) (FPF reported), which was published in October 2020. During the online SSbD workshop, representatives from the EC, the EU Member States (MS), as well as various stakeholders from industry, civil society, and academia presented their views on how to identify criteria for SSbD and what these criteria should be. More than 500 participants contributed with questions and comments in the chat. The full recording of the workshop has been published by the EC Directorate General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD).

DG RTD is responsible for developing the SSbD criteria and is currently working on a framework for this purpose, as was described during the workshop by Aleksandra Malysha and Javier Sanfelix, both DG RTD. First findings on the criteria development framework were shared, and workshop participants were informed that a survey will be sent out to stakeholders in April 2021 requesting input on priority sectors and priority uses of chemicals with the potential for improvement. Further, a technical stakeholder workshop is planned for the end of 2021. The specific criteria will then be drafted and published for consultation with all stakeholders in the third quarter of 2022, with the aim for it to be finalized by the end of 2022. An important element of the SSbD criteria development will be to establish a network of experts and stakeholders, which will also be achieved through the new EU research funding mechanism, Horizon Europe. Calls for new research proposals under Horizon Europe that will support the implementation of the CSS will commence in the second quarter of 2021.

Kestutis Sadauskas, Directorate General for the Environment (DG ENV), stated that the goal of the CSS is to “avoid as much as possible substances which pose a concern to human health and the environment, and those are the chemicals that have a chronic effect,” including, for example, carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, or persistent substances. He further explained that the CSS complements other EC elements of the European Green Deal published in 2020 (FPF reported), such as the Circular Economy Action Plan (FPF reported) and the Farm To Fork Strategy (FPF reported), as well as the Zero Pollution Action Plan for Water, Air and Soil that is expected to be finalized and published in the first half of 2021.

Sadauskas explained how the EC intends to utilize the SSbD criteria: (1) they will help to identify which research and innovations should be funded by the EC, and which investments should be deprioritized, in alignment with EC goals towards climate neutrality and zero pollution ambition; (2) the criteria will impact upcoming EC regulations on sustainable finance, a sustainable product initiative to regulate the overall sustainability of products (expected at the end of 2021), and proposals for a targeted revision of REACH regulation (in 2022), including assessment of the overall environmental footprint of chemicals.

Xenia Trier from the European Environment Agency clarified in her presentation and in her comments during the discussion that the SSbD criteria will not address economic considerations, but instead be focused on the intrinsic properties of chemicals. Economic considerations then play a role when products or services are developed and suitable, and non-hazardous chemicals are selected that will allow for performing the service.

Read more

EC (March 24, 2021). “Sustainable-by-Design approach: towards a sustainable future.” (YouTube)

EC (March 24, 2021). “Sustainable-by-Design approach: towards a sustainable future.”

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Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act reintroduced in US https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/break-free-from-plastic-pollution-act-reintroduced-in-us Fri, 26 Mar 2021 12:55:47 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328748 Updated version of bill continues to plan for nationwide extended producer responsibility scheme, minimum recycled content limits, deposit system, single-use plastic bans; new focus on promoting refillable containers, establishing three-year stop on construction of new plastic and chemical recycling facilities

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In an article published on March 25, 2021, news provider Waste Dive discusses the recently reintroduced version of the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act into the US congress.

A first version of the bill was introduced in 2020 (FPF reported) but did not make it through the lawmaking process. This most recent version of the bill is described as proposing very similar targets and restrictions set out in last year’s version. This includes the creation of a nationwide extended producer responsibility (EPR) program for packaging, establishing minimum recycled content limits, developing a container deposit system, and introducing bans on single-use plastic products. Additional focus is placed on promoting plastic source reduction through refillable and reusable containers. A new (and seemingly controversial) addition is the implementation of a three-year stop of permit issuing for the construction of new plastics manufacturing and chemical recycling facilities.

The bill has been sponsored by Alan Lowenthal from California and Jeff Merkley from Oregon. More than 400 civil society groups have signed a letter supporting the bill, and the sponsors believe there has been significantly increasing support from key stakeholders that will help the bill move forward in the lawmaking process. A few large civil society organizations have also launched a campaign calling for the Biden administration to implement a set of eight priority actions to address the plastic pollution crisis.

However, the new act has continued to receive criticism from the plastic and recycling industries, which argue that the stop of new facility permits is unnecessary and harmful for the economy. These stakeholders are instead backing a separate bill known as the RECYCLE Act, which proposes to instead focus efforts on public education and outreach to increase plastic recycling rates.

Reference

Julia John (March 26, 2021). “US plastic pollution bill highlights growing push for producer responsibility.” Chemical Watch

117th US Congress. (March 2021). “RYA21300 SY9 – Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.”

Read more

Megan Quinn (March 25, 2021). “Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act reintroduced, plastics industry ramps up opposition.” Waste Dive

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Virginia bans polystyrene and single-use plastics https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/virginia-bans-polystyrene-and-single-use-plastics Thu, 25 Mar 2021 14:33:32 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328744 US state governor passes legislation banning polystyrene foam food packaging partially by 2023 and fully by 2025; sets penalty of $50 a day, civil organizations to be exempted; signed executive order regulating phase-out of non-reusable plastics from public institutions by July 21, 2021

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In January and March 2021, news provider EcoWatch reported on two pieces of legislation passed by the governor of the US state of Virginia banning polystyrene food containers as well as phasing out non-reusable plastics.

On January 13, 2021, Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, approved bill HB1902 that will ban dispensing polystyrene food service containers by food vendors. The bill will come into force partially by July 1, 2023, and sets the final phase-out date for all food vendors of July 1, 2025. The penalty will amount to $50 for each day of violation. Civil organizations will be exempt from the ban. A migrant from polystyrene foam plastics (CAS 9003-53-6), styrene (CAS 100-42-5) has been characterized by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as probably carcinogenic (FPF reported).

Alex Truelove, zero-waste program director for U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) commented: “Polystyrene foam containers are among the most common, harmful and non-recyclable plastic products on the market. Getting rid of foam encourages better alternatives, particularly reusable containers, in addition to recyclable and compostable ones.” Similar legislative actions have been passed in the US states of New Jersey (FPF reported), New York (FPF reported), and Maine (FPF reported).

On March 23, Northam also signed an executive order intended to regulate the phase-out of non-reusable plastics at state institutions. The legislation will require a ban of unnecessary single-use items by July 21, 2021, including among others, food containers, cutlery, and water bottles. Exceptions will be made for plastics needed for medical and public safety uses.

Read More

Oliviae Rosane (March 24, 2021). “Virginia Governor Takes Action on Single-Use Plastics.” EcoWatch

Megan Quinn (March 23, 2021). “Virgina’s Legislative HB 1902 Expanded polystyrene food service containers; prohibition, civil penalty.” Waste Dive

Common Wealth of Virginia (March 23, 2021). “Virginia leading by example to reduce plastic pollution and solid waste.

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Health Canada guide on glazed ceramics, glassware regulations https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/health-canada-guide-on-glazed-ceramics-glassware-regulations Thu, 25 Mar 2021 14:07:44 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328743 Government agency Health Canada publishes updated industry guide providing relevant information, examples, migration limits, designs for warnings labels; emphasizes that undecorated glassware and ceramics out of scope of regulation

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In February 2021, Health Canada published an updated version of its industry guide for food contact glazed ceramic and glassware product regulations, which provides, among others, illustrative examples, migration limits for cadmium and lead, as well as guidance on design features and design warnings to prevent long-term food contact.

In Canada, food contact glazed ceramic and glassware are regulated under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) and the Glazed Ceramics and Glassware Regulations (GCGR, SOR/2016-175). In the updated guide, important information is provided to help manufacturers meet the set requirements. The guide emphasizes that undecorated glassware and ceramics are out of the scope of the GCGR. Further, it provides ten examples of products that fall under the law, in addition to summarizing set limits for cadmium and lead migration, as well as detailing the design of permanent warning labels for glazed ceramic and glassware products that are intended for ornamental use only.

In the EU, a roadmap was published in May 2019 outlining an initiative to lower migration limits for heavy metals in ceramic, glass, and enameled food contact materials (FPF reported). However, the European Commission was criticized in January 2021 by the European Association for the Coordination of Consumer Representation in Standardization (ANEC) for failing to revise the outdated heavy metal limits (FPF reported).

Read More

Health Canada (February 2021). “Industry Guide to the Glazed Ceramics and Glassware Regulations.”

SGS (March 23, 2021). “Health Canada revises industry guide for food contact glazed ceramics and glassware.”

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Collaborative to verify and register safer chemical alternatives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/collaborative-to-verify-and-register-safer-chemical-alternatives Thu, 25 Mar 2021 13:22:02 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328742 Chem Forward and Sustainable Packaging Coalition launch collaborative to identify, assess, and verify safer alternatives for use in food packaging; plan to develop cloud-based registration system, highlight best practices, develop common agenda to accelerate systemic change

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On March 3, 2021, civil society organization Chem Forward announced the launch of a new collaborative on safer and circular materials in partnership with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). The collaborative aims “to support companies in their circular economy commitments with material building blocks that are safe for humans and the environment across the product life cycle, and that contribute quality inputs back to raw material feedstocks.” The collaborative has set out to (i) establish priority functional areas and agree on criteria for safer alternatives for use in food packaging, (ii) identify, assess, and verify these alternatives, (iii) include them in a cloud-based registry, (iv) explore health challenges related to packaging materials through stakeholder discussions and engaging experts, and (v) collaborate to find best practices and develop a common agenda to accelerate needed systemic change.

“This partnership with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition with not only help support companies seeking the material building blocks that will make packaging safe for humans and the environment across the product life cycle, it will seek to identify and activate the supply chain drivers to create lasting systems change,” said Chem Forward’s director, Stacy Glass.

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New textbook on designing safer and more sustainable chemicals https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/new-textbook-on-designing-safer-and-more-sustainable-chemicals Wed, 24 Mar 2021 13:59:37 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328741 Academic scientists from ETH Zürich publish textbook teaching fundamental tools, methods, and concepts for designing chemical products and processes; includes life cycle assessment, product and process risk assessment, thermal safety, key regulations, societal dialogue; features workable case study developed with industry partners

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On March 19, 2021, a group of academic scientists from ETH Zürich in Switzerland published a textbook focused on teaching core concepts for the safer and more sustainable design of chemical products and processes. The new resource introduces readers to a set of core topics including basic technical methods and tools (including life cycle assessment, product and process risk assessment, and thermal safety concepts) as well as key normative topics (including philosophical, societal, and business perspectives in addition to current environmental and safety legislation). Core sections of the book were developed in collaboration with industry partners, and the final chapter offers a workable, illustrative case study that guides readers through applying the fundamentals learned to the production and application of a real-world chemical product.

The textbook is free to download for all members of universities and companies that are subscribed to Springer Nature publications and also at a very reduced rate through the publisher’s MyCopy program in partnership with local libraries. Two of the book’s authors, Justin Boucher and Martin Scheringer, are also affiliated with the Food Packaging Forum and developed the book independently through their positions at ETH Zürich.

“With chemical production volumes expected to continue drastically increasing globally in the coming years, our aim with this new textbook is to share with students and current professionals alike a set of key fundamental scientific tools and perspectives to continuously improve our society’s development of safe and sustainable chemicals,” Boucher said. “This is the result of over 25 years of research and teaching within our Safety and Environmental Technology Group at ETH Zurich, and we glad this new textbook can help make that expertise and teaching material widely available.”

Read more

Hungerbühler, Boucher, Pereira, Roiss, and Scheringer (March 2021). “Chemical Products and Processes – Foundations of Environmentally Oriented Design.” Springer Nature

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EFSA guide on approval of substances in plastic FCMs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-guide-on-approval-of-substances-in-plastic-fcms Wed, 24 Mar 2021 13:31:56 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328737 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) publishes administrative guide on submitting applications for approval of substances to be used in plastic food contact materials (FCMs); describes procedures, timelines for handling applications; will be updated as necessary

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On March 22, 2021, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced the publication of an administrative guide on how to submit applications for approval of substances “to be used in plastic and intended to come into contact with food.”

The guide describes among others the “procedure and associated timelines for handling applications on substances to be used in plastic food contact materials, the different possibilities to interact with EFSA, and the support initiatives available from the preparation of the application (pre-submission phase) to the adoption and publication of EFSA’s scientific opinion.” This administrative guidance will be updated as needed to reflect relevant changes to the sectoral legislation and/or guidance documents.

Read More

EFSA (March 22, 2021). “Administrative guidance for the preparation of applications on substances to be used in plastic food contact materials

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France to harmonize packaging recycling labels https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/france-to-harmonize-packaging-recycling-labels Wed, 24 Mar 2021 12:43:38 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328732 Ruling aims to simplify and harmonize labels placed on packaging within the country; plans to abolish “Green Dot” label and revise “Triman” label to provide specific sorting information to consumers; label guidelines to be released in second half of 2021, potentially come into force January 1, 2022

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In an article published on March 19, 2021, SGS reported on new regulations in France that are set to simplify and harmonize the recycling labels placed on packaging in the country. In November 2020, the French government passed a ruling within its Anti-wastage and Circular Economy (AGEC) law that would penalize recycling logos that “could induce a confusion regarding the sorting rule.” It plans to remove the “Green Dot” logo that has been mandatory on domestic packaging since the early 1990’s and represents that a manufacturer has paid required contributions to an eco-organization. Consumers, however, have been found to misinterpret the symbol to mean that the packaging is recyclable. The rule is also expected to result in the revision of the “Triman” logo, which will involve the introduction of more specific sorting guidance for consumers.

A draft decree has been released, and additional documentation with guidelines for future labeling is expected to be released in the second half of 2021. Pending final approval, the new regulations should enter into force on January 1, 2022. An exception may be introduced to allow manufacturers to instead use labeling approved by another EU member state, and a grace period could be used to allow depletion of current packaging stocks.

Read more

SGS (March 23, 2021). “Significant changes to the signage for packaging and recyclable products.”

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John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight features plastics https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/john-olivers-last-week-tonight-features-plastic Wed, 24 Mar 2021 12:03:34 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328729 Last Week Tonight episode focuses on plastic recycling, reports only nine percent of all plastics recycled, functioning systems only established for polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene; discusses Basel Convention restricting plastic waste trade, criticizes misleading closed-loop recycling claims; recommends targeted bans, introducing extended producer responsibility schemes

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On March 22, 2021, the show Last Watch Tonight hosted by John Oliver released an episode discussing low recycling rates of plastics and criticizing companies for shifting responsibilities and financial burden to the public sector and consumers.

In the episode, Oliver discusses a press release by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which showed that only about nine percent of all produced plastics are recycled, the remaining are either landfilled, incinerated, or end up in the environment. Of the seven main plastic materials in use, only polyethylene terephthalate (PET; CAS 25038-59-9) and polyethylene (PE; CAS 9002-88-4) have functioning recycling systems that have been established. Unfavorably designed packaging that complicates separation and waste stream impurity as well as the low price of virgin plastic could also help explain this low recycling rate.

Oliver also highlights that a large amount of US low-value plastic waste had been sold and shipped to other countries such as China until it banned plastic waste imports in 2018 (FPF reported). Over 180 countries then agreed in January 2020 to an amendment to the Basel Convention, which limits selling or exporting plastic waste (FPF reported). However, the US is the only developed country that has not ratified the global treaty.

Oliver further criticizes the plastic industry for spreading misleading beliefs in its recycling efforts, specifically big food brands such as Nestlé and Coca Cola that repeatedly advertised recycled content targets and did not meet set goals. In addition, he criticizes companies that have implied that virgin plastic material can be recycled infinitely. Mechanical recycling processes limit the number of times plastics can be recycled, and according to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, only 2% of plastic stays in a closed-looped system, while the rest of it is downcycled.

Recycling can have a beneficial impact on plastic waste reduction, however, Oliver concludes that the main focus should be to reduce production and use of unrecyclable single-use plastic. This could be achieved, he says, for example by introducing targeted bans to incentivize alternatives and by shifting the financial responsibility to pay for pollution and waste management back from consumers and the public to plastic producers and retailers. One approach that could support this change could be introducing mandatory extended producer responsibility (EPs) schemes. The potential presence and migration of hazardous chemicals from plastic packaging is a further important aspect to consider for environmental and human health that was not covered in Oliver’s episode (FPF reported).

Reference

John Oliver (March 22, 2021). “Plastics: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).” YouTube

Read More

EcoWatch (March 23, 2021). “John Oliver Takes on the Plastics Industry.”

EPA (December 2020). “Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling.”

Ellen MacArthur Foundation (December 13, 2017). “The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics & catalyzing action.

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ECETOC report recommends alternative AFs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ecetoc-report-recommends-alternative-afs Tue, 23 Mar 2021 14:20:33 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328723 European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC) publishes report reviewing derived no-effect levels (DNELs); finds European Chemicals Agency’s default assessment factors (AFs) “in some cases overly conservative”; recommends reviewing and using alternative AFs

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In an article on February 24, 2021, the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC) announced the publication of a technical report reviewing available scientific information used to determine a chemical’s derived no-effect levels (DNELs).

DNELs are generally defined as “the exposure level beneath which a substance does not harm human health” and establishing a DNEL represents a vital step in the assessment of chemicals under REACH. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) defines DNELs based on “recognized international practices” as well as, extrapolating from animal studies to human exposure by applying assessment factors (AFs).

The purpose of applying AFs is to address uncertainties as well as variability, for example, among humans, sensitive subpopulations, and when extrapolating across species. Ideally, AFs should be based on experimental data, however, data scarcity often results in the application of so-called “default AFs”.

However, according to ECETOC, the default approach is “in some cases overly conservative” and the authors explain that the results of their review support the occasional use of alternative factors. According to the authors, the application of this concept requires chemical-specific reasoning, as well as transparent documentation. The organization writes that the higher costs required to attain such chemical-specific assessment factors may limit this approach to only a small number of high-profile or high-value chemicals. In the presented review, the organization also concluded that the available scientific landscape regarding intra- and inter-species variation has not changed much in the last ten years, confirming opinions of their earlier reviews. Nevertheless, ECETOC recommends reviewing AFs to consider differences in study duration and to avoid the development of divergent practices.

Read More

ECETOC (February 24, 2021). “Tr – 136 Assessment Factors To Derive Dnels – Critical Evaluation Of The Status Quo.

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UN adopts ecosystem accounting framework https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/un-adopts-ecosystem-accounting-framework Tue, 23 Mar 2021 13:29:33 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328722 United Nation Statistical Commission formally adopts framework aimed to account for the presence and quality of ecosystem assets within different countries; defines five ecosystem accounts, aims to expand global policymaking focus beyond just considering metrics such as gross domestic product (GDP) to ‘make nature count’

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United Nation Statistical Commission formally adopts framework aimed to account for the presence and quality of ecosystem assets within different countries; defines five ecosystem accounts, aims to expand global policymaking focus beyond just considering metrics such as gross domestic product (GDP) to ‘make nature count’

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World Happiness Report 2021 applies Wellby approach https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/world-happiness-report-2021-applies-wellby-approach Mon, 22 Mar 2021 11:22:55 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328721 Latest published report focuses on the effects of COVID-19 on happiness across countries and regions, describes and evaluates how governments have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic; applies Wellby (Well-Being-Adjusted Life-Years) approach to account for length and quality of life, measures progress

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Latest published report focuses on the effects of COVID-19 on happiness across countries and regions, describes and evaluates how governments have dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic; applies Wellby (Well-Being-Adjusted Life-Years) approach to account for length and quality of life, measures progress

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EFSA guide on applications for active packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-guide-on-applications-for-active-packaging Mon, 22 Mar 2021 11:18:07 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328720 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) publishes administrative guide on how to submit applications for new active, intelligent materials and articles intended for food contact; describes procedures, timelines for handling applications; will be updated as necessary

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On March 18, 2021, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced the publication of an administrative guide on how to submit applications for approval of materials to be “used in components of active and intelligent materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.”

The guide describes among others the “procedure and associated timelines for handling applications on active or intelligent substances present in active and intelligent materials and articles intended to come into contact with food, the different possibilities to interact with EFSA, and the support initiatives available from the preparation of the application (pre-submission phase) to the adoption and publication of EFSA’s scientific opinion.” This administrative guidance will be updated, with relevant changes to the sectoral legislation and/or guidance documents.

The guidance document is intended to be updated in the future as necessary.

Read More

EFSA (March 18, 2021). “Administrative guidance for the preparation of applications on substances to be used in active and intelligent materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.”

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Scientists request US EPA to ban PFAS as a class https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/scientists-request-us-epa-to-ban-pfas-as-a-class Fri, 19 Mar 2021 14:34:54 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328715 Group of 67 scientists send letter to new US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, requesting class-based ban on all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) except for essential uses; argue this would provide efficient process to greatly reduce exposure, further recommend EPA to require toxicity testing of widely present PFAS

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On March 16, 2021, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) reported on a letter sent by a group of 67 US scientists with leading expertise in per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) recommending the new US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator implement a class-based ban on all PFAS except essential uses.

PFAS are very persistent, ubiquitous substances linked to adverse human and environmental health effects. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is described as having identified over 9000 PFAS compounds, which if regulated individually would be time and resource-consuming. Regulating PFAS as a single class, according to the scientists led by Linda Birnbaum“would provide an orderly and expeditious process for phasing out all but essential PFAS uses, greatly reducing future exposure.“ The same approach has been proposed already in February 2021, by the Californian Department of Toxic Substances Control under the Safer Consumer Products Framework (FPF reported). The authors also recommend to Regan that the agency should use its testing authority under TSCA to require toxicity testing of the many PFAS that are widely present in the environment and people.

In addition, six health and environmental justice organizations wrote a separate letter to EPA Administrator Regan in which they requested granting a previously rejected petition under TSCA from October 2020 that would require “the 54 PFAS chemicals produced by Chemours to be tested for adverse health and environmental effects that have been linked to well-studied [PFAS] class members.”

Alexis Luckey, Executive Director of Toxic Free North Carolina stated: “We are hopeful that Administrator Regan, who knows North Carolina’s plight to address PFAS all too well, will recognize EPA’s duty to act.”

Read More

Kathryn Alcantar (March 19, 2021).”Scientists and North Carolina Co-Petitioners Implore EPA’s Regan to Act on PFAS.CEH

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EFSA guide on applications for plastics recycling processes https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-guide-on-applications-for-plastics-recycling-processes Fri, 19 Mar 2021 14:03:19 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328714 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) publishes administrative guide on how to submit applications for new plastic recycling processes for products intended for food contact; describes procedures, timelines for handling applications; will be updated as necessary

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On March 18, 2021, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced the publication of an administrative guide on how to submit applications for approval of new recycling processes intended to produce recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.

The guide describes among others the “procedure and associated timelines for handling applications on recycling processes, the different possibilities to interact with EFSA, as well as the support initiatives available for the preparation of the application intended to lead to an EFSA opinion.”

This administrative guidance will be updated, if needed, in accordance with relevant changes of the sectoral legislation and/or guidance documents.

Read More

EFSA (March 18, 2021). “Administrative guidance for the preparation of applications on recycling processes to produce recycled plastics intended to be used for manufacture of materials and articles in contact with food.”

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IPEN: Gender inequality and chemical exposure https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ipen-gender-inequality-and-chemical-exposure Tue, 16 Mar 2021 13:41:05 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328680 New report by International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) highlights the effects toxic chemicals have on women, special vulnerabilities faced from toxic exposure; provides recommendations to safeguard the health of women, includes focusing on phasing out hazardous chemicals highly impacting women, preventing pregnant women from working with hazardous chemicals

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New report by International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) highlights the effects toxic chemicals have on women, special vulnerabilities faced from toxic exposure; provides recommendations to safeguard the health of women, includes focusing on phasing out hazardous chemicals highly impacting women, preventing pregnant women from working with hazardous chemicals

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EFSA working group updates in November 2020 to March 2021 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-working-group-updates-in-november-2020-to-march-2021 Tue, 16 Mar 2021 13:30:32 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328678 Minutes from recent meetings of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) CEP panel and working groups on bisphenol A (BPA), food contact materials (FCMs), recycling plastics, and phthalates published; groups continue discussions and revisions of draft opinions; new working group on re-evaluation of phthalates and structurally similar substances in FCMs launched

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The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP Panel) published the minutes of the 37th through 43rd meetings of its Working Group on bisphenol A (CAS 80-05-7) re-evaluation (WG-BPA) held in October 2020 through January 2021. During the meetings, the experts discussed issues related to dose-conversion, consideration of animal species other than murine, missing data in published studies, and worked to address other issues within the weight of evidence approach.

The EFSA CEP Panel also published the minutes of the 19th through 21st meetings of its Working Group on Food Contact Materials (WG-FCM), which were held in September 2020 through January 2021. During the meetings, the experts discussed a draft EFSA guidance on the presence of small particles including nanoparticles in food and feed, and the group determined that the guidance is also applicable to FCMs. The group has now been requested to provide comments on the technical requirements for nanoparticles to EFSA’s working group on nanotechnology. The group was further asked to provide feedback on the development of the 16th amendment of Regulation 10/2011 on plastic FCMs, in particular on the specific migration limit (SML) to be set for triethanolamine-perchlorate, sodium salt dimer (CAS 156157‐97‐0).

The WG-FCM was also asked to provide feedback on the potential classification of cobalt salts under the REACH regulation as being carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic (CMR). It also reviewed dossiers requesting approval for use of the following substances: Amines,bis(hydrogenated rape-oil alkyl)methyl, N-oxides (EFSA-Q-2020-00275) and bis(2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidyl)sebacate (EFSA-Q-2020-00455). However, it was determined that further information is needed from the applicants, and the evaluations were suspended pending the requested information.

The EFSA CEP Panel also published the minutes of the 17th through 22nd meetings of its Working Group on Recycling Plastics (WG-RP), which were held in October 2020 through February 2021. During the meetings, the group discussed the draft opinions for the following recycling processes and scheduled them for possible adoption by the CEP Panel: Plastrec (Polymetrix pellet) (EFSA-Q-2019-00294), Drava International (Starlinger deCON) (EFSA-Q-2020-00750), DY Polymer (PET direct iV+) (EFSA-Q-2020-00329), and Severn Valley Polymers (Starlinger deCON) (EFSA-Q-2019-00698). The group determined that additional information is needed for over 30 other recycling process applications in order the complete their risk assessments. Further evaluation has therefore been suspended pending the receipt of this additional information.

In February 2021, the CEP Panel published the minutes of the first two meetings of its new working group on preparation for re-evaluation of phthalates and structurally similar substances and replacement substances. The working group was started following a new mandate (EFSA-Q-2020-00725) received by EFSA to work with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to re-evaluate the risks of these substances in FCMs to public health. The group is to consider the results of a screening and prioritization exercise completed by ECHA on groups of structurally similar substances that may be relevant considering their use in FCMs. The experts spent the meetings discussing the mandate, the draft prioritization approach, and timelines of the workplan.

Read more

EFSA CEP Panel (January 21, 2021). “Minutes of the 37th – 43rd meetings of the working group on BPA re-evaluation.” (pdf)

EFSA CEP Panel (February 8, 2021). “Minutes of the 19th – 21st meetings of the working group on food contact materials 2018-2021.” (pdf)

EFSA CEP Panel (March 1, 2021). “Minutes of the 15th – 21st meetings of the working group on recycling plastics 2018-2021.” (pdf)

EFSA CEP Panel (February 18, 2021). “Minutes of the 1st and 2nd meetings of the working group on preparation for re-evaluation of phthalates, structurally similar substances and replacement substances.” (pdf)

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ECHA public consultation on proposing 4 FCCs as SVHCs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-public-consultation-on-proposing-4-fccs-as-svhcs Tue, 16 Mar 2021 12:16:00 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328677 European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) launches public consultation on identifying eight new substances of very high concern (SVHCs); four are food contact chemicals (FCCs): bisphenol B, 1,4-dioxane, medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCP), and phenol alkylation products with C12-rich branched or linear alkyl chains from oligomerization (PDDP); open for public comment until April 23, 2021

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On March 15, 2021, testing provider SGS reported on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) launching public consultations on eight proposals identifying new substances of very high concern (SVHCs).

Among the eight substances are four food contact chemicals (FCCs), including: 1,4-dioxane (CAS 123-91-1), bisphenol B (BPB; CAS 77-40-7; FPF reported), medium-chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCP), as well as phenol alkylation products with C12-rich branched or linear alkyl chains from oligomerization (PDDP).

1,4-dioxane, used as a solvent used during chemical synthesis, is also being considered to be reclassified as a Category 1B carcinogen and is present in the Food Packaging Forum’s FCCdb database, which lists the chemical as a substance of high priority based on California’s Proposition 65 regulation.

ECHA is calling for the public to submit comments and further information on the use, exposure, alternatives, and risks of the substances by April 23, 2021.

For more information about how to find and extract relevant information from the FCCdb, please see the resource’s background page.

Read More

SGS (March 15, 2021). “EU – ECHA launches first 2021 SVHC consultation on eight proposals.

ECHA (March 9, 2021). “Substances of very high concern identification.

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PFAS alternatives for paper food packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/pfas-alternatives-for-paper-food-packaging Mon, 15 Mar 2021 14:15:49 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328675 Article in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety discusses alternatives for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in paper food packaging; considers lamination with waxes and polymer films, alternative surface sizing and coatings; views finding cost-effective, fully biodegradable, and environmentally friendly alternatives challenging

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In March 2021, a research team led by Gregory Glenn from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a review article in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety on alternatives for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in paper food packaging. In their article, the authors describe the availability, suitability, and limitations of currently discussed alternatives for PFAS. A very common strategy identified includes adding waxes or lamination of paper with polymer films such as polyethylene (PE; CAS 9002-88-4), poly(ethylene‐co‐vinyl alcohol) (CAS 25067-34-9), and polyethylene terephthalate (PET; CAS 25038-59-9).

However, these laminates and waxes are neither biodegradable nor recyclable. Laminates with biodegradable polymers are discussed as well, such as poly-lactic acid (PLA; CAS 26100-51-6), polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT; CAS 60961-73-1), polybutylene succinate (PBS; CAS 25777-14-4), and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). In addition to laminates, surface sizing and coatings with materials such as starch (CAS 9005-25-8), plant protein, and chitosan (CAS 9012-76-4) represent other processing techniques that can provide “adequate oil barrier properties but have poor moisture resistance without chemical modification.”

The authors emphasize the difficulties in finding a suitable replacement for PFAS chemicals, which will require more research efforts: “Numerous nontoxic chemicals with various processing methods have been proposed to replace PFAS [..] but a cost-effective, fully biodegradable, and environmentally friendly replacement which can be easily processed to attain the effectiveness of PFAS has remained elusive so far.”

PFAS have been ubiquitously applied in paper food packaging due to adding high water and grease resistance properties. However, exposure to PFAS such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; CAS 335-67-1) poses a health risk to humans, therefore, this group of chemicals has been facing stricter regulation by governments and gradual phase-out from food packaging by big retailing companies such as Amazon (FPF reported) and McDonald’s (FPF reported). In February 2021, the Department of Ecology (DoE) of the US state of Washington published an Alternatives Assessment identifying safer alternatives to replace PFAS in wraps and liners, plates, and pizza boxes (FPF reported).

Reference

Glenn et al. (March 2021). “Per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances and their alternatives in paper food packaging.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 

Read More

Department of Ecology (February 2021). “Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Food Packaging Alternatives Assessment.

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ANSES proposes listing bisphenol B as SVHC https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/anses-proposes-listing-bisphenol-b-as-svhc Fri, 12 Mar 2021 14:09:06 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328673 French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) proposes listing bisphenol B as REACH substance of very high concern (SVHC), suggests bisphenol B is an even more dangerous endocrine disruptor than bisphenol A; public consultation for identification dossier open until April 23, 2021

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On March 9, 2021, the French Agency for Food, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) released a press statement on its proposal to list bisphenol B (BPB; CAS 77-40-7) as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) under the EU’s REACH regulation, similar to bisphenol A (BPA; CAS 80-05-7), due to its endocrine-disrupting properties.

BPB is described as currently being used in non-EU countries as an alternative to bisphenol A. However, according to a review completed by ANSES in October 2019, this chemical has “similar or even slightly more pronounced” endocrine disrupting properties compared to the substance bisphenol A it is intended to replace. The authors concluded that the data suggests BPB meets the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of an endocrine-disrupting chemical as it alters the function of the male reproductive system as well as presents a biologically plausible link to resulting adverse health effects.

With its proposal, ANSES aims to prevent further industrial use of BPB, regrettable substitution of BPA, and require importers to declare if it constitutes more than 0.1% of the product composition.

The proposed identification dossier is now open for public consultation on the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) website until April 23, 2021.

Read More

ANSES (March 9, 2021). “Le bisphénol B, un perturbateur endocrinien pour l’Homme et l’environnement.” (in French)

ECHA (March 2021). “Proposal for identification of a substance of very high concern on the basis of the criteria set out in reach article 57.” (pdf)

Philippe Richard (July 3 2021). “Des substituts du bisphénol A contiendraient aussi des substances nocives.” Maville (in French)

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EEB reviews CEAP progress https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eeb-reviews-ceap-progress Thu, 11 Mar 2021 16:38:34 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328662 European Environment Bureau (EEB) reviews progress of EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), highlights successes and challenges; finds many EU countries missed 2020 targets for recycling, waste prevention targets needed; European Parliament calling for targets to reduce resource use by 2030; EU Commission planning publication of guidelines for Single-Use Plastic Directive, clarification of rules for biobased and biodegradable plastics, introduction of legislation to mandate using harmonized Life Cycle Assessment method

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European Environment Bureau (EEB) reviews progress of EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP), highlights successes and challenges; finds many EU countries missed 2020 targets for recycling, waste prevention targets needed; European Parliament calling for targets to reduce resource use by 2030; EU Commission planning publication of guidelines for Single-Use Plastic Directive, clarification of rules for biobased and biodegradable plastics, introduction of legislation to mandate using harmonized Life Cycle Assessment method

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Recommendations on implementation of EPR https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/recommendations-on-implementation-of-epr Thu, 11 Mar 2021 14:53:29 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328660 Upstream publishes overview article discussing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging, sees recent improvements; views EPR as foundation of circular economy and calls for EPR policies to also focus on developing new reuse/refill systems, include targets for litter prevention and mitigation; advocates for binding reuse targets similar to EU's recycling targets to create conditions for businesses to safely invest in upscaling reuse

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On March 10, 2021, Matt Prindiville of the civil society organization Upstream published an overview article on the background, history, and most recent developments in the discussions surrounding Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). In addition, he also gives recommendations to consider in order to implement EPR policies successfully.

Prindiville explains that the beginnings of EPR-focused policy work were hampered largely due to stakeholders misunderstanding the concept, a lack of interest from industry and politicians, as well as China’s open recycling and waste policy. Extensive implementation of the EPR concept would involve, for example, consumer brands being required to “pay for the collection and recycling of their packaging, plus litter prevention and clean-up and public outreach.” The article reports that much has changed in recent years due to better communication of the concept towards policymakers, as well as political actions to ban plastic waste trade such as the Basel Convention (FPF reported) and the Chinese waste import embargo (FPF reported).

In the article, Prindiville gives recommendations policymakers should consider when attempting to implement EPR schemes. According to the article, EPRs are the foundation of a circular economy, however, many more actions are needed including, for example, expanding container deposits and source reduction/reuse policies. Furthermore, he discourages viewing EPR as “a way to determine who finances and optimizes recycling.” Instead, he recommends that EPR packaging legislation should focus on developing new reuse/refill systems that could greatly reduce upstream impacts, as well as including targets for litter prevention and mitigation. Upstream advocates that binding reuse targets similar to the EU’s recycling targets for plastics would “create the conditions in which businesses can safely invest in the associated technology and infrastructure for reuse to scale.” Business sectors such as individual foodservice companies should “use reusable packaging at a rate of 25% within 5 years and 50% within 10 years of adoption.”

Read More

Matt Prindiville (March 10, 2021). “EPR for packaging: then and now.” Upstream

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