On December 11, 2018, the non-profit organizations Safer Chemicals Healthy Families (SCHF) and Toxic-Free Future released a new report entitled “Take out toxics: PFAS chemicals in food packaging” (FPF reported).
The study examined the fluorine content of 78 samples of food packaging, including “paper takeout containers, bakery or deli papers, microwavable trays, and baking supplies like muffin cups.” The samples were collected from five large U.S. grocery stores (Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods Market). The results indicate that 13% of all samples were likely treated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). More specifically, 63% of takeout containers and 11% of bakery and deli papers tested were likely treated with PFASs. None of the tested cook-at-home food trays, baking supplies, and microwavable trays were found to likely contain PFASs. Further, the study noted that many “retailers use or sell packaging that is free of PFAS treatment, indicating that PFAS-free alternatives are widely available and competitively priced.”
In light of their results, the organizations call on grocery chains and food retailers to adopt comprehensive chemicals policies to remove hazardous chemicals, such as PFASs and other endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC), from food contact materials (FCMs). They also urge state and local governments to ban PFASs in food packaging and promote safer alternatives, similar to actions taken by the U.S. states Washington and New York as well as the city San Francisco.
SCHF (December 11, 2018). “New study finds non-stick PFAS chemicals in takeout packaging at top grocery stores.”
Kary, T., and Shanker, D. (December 11, 2018). “Whole Foods ranked worst on cancer-linked package chemicals.” Bloomberg
SCHF (December 12, 2018). “Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s pledge initial action on toxic PFAS.”
Kelly Franklin (December 13, 2018). “Two US grocery chains pledge action on PFAS takeout packaging.” Chemical Watch
SCHF and Toxic-Free Future (December 11, 2018). “Take out toxics: PFAS chemicals in food packaging.” (pdf)