On December 3, 2020, news provider Chemical Watch reported that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new bill banning the intentional addition of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in all food packaging effectively from December 2022.

In contrast to previous related bills passed in Washington and Maine, there is no requirement in this law for the state to find an alternative for said substances before banning them. This stricter approach is more in line with the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) model legislation (FPF reported) and intended to “spur innovation.” If found violating the new legislation, companies will have to pay a ten thousand dollar first time fine, with repeated transgressions penalized by up to 25 thousand dollars.

The bill has been criticized by industry groups like The Performance Fluoropolymer Partnership (PFP) as being too restrictive also excluding substances, like fluoropolymers, that “provide materials that are critical to public health”. In addition, the Alliance for Telomer Chemistry Stewardship (ATCS) stated the legislators did not identify suitable alternatives for disposable packaging which may lead to a challenging situation for the foodservice industry. They hope for cooperation with the legislators to ensure a “lower risk transition” for all concerned parties including manufacturers, food-service businesses, and consumers.

This law is just one of several expected legislative actions and industry initiatives in the current phase-out trend of PFAS substances in food packaging (FPF reported), more are expected to be passed in the next year.

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Terry Hyland (December 3, 2020). “New York Governor signs bill to ban PFASs in food packaging.Chemical Watch