In an article published on December 11, 2019, regulatory news provider Chemical Watch reported on an agreed version of a bill in the U.S. that would ban the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in military food packaging. Known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the primary aim of the bill is to agree on spending for military operations. However, the ever-increasing attention placed on the groundwater contamination from PFAS used in the military’s aqueous firefighting foams (AFFFs) has led to the addition of PFAS-specific provisions in this year’s bill. As outlined in a summary of the bill, it specifies that PFAS will be prohibited from use in the materials used to assemble and package ready-to-eat meals in the military starting on October 1, 2021. It also would require the transition towards fluorine-free firefighting foams by banning the use of PFAS in AFFFs after October 1, 2024.
However, stakeholders are concerned that the bill does not include funding to address the already widespread groundwater contamination caused by the military’s long-term use of PFAS AFFFs. Scott Faber from the non-governmental organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) commented “while it’s good news that the Defense Department will finally phase out PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging, communities desperately need Congress to tackle industrial PFAS releases into the air and water and to require DOD [Department of Defense] to cleanup legacy PFAS pollution.”
Lisa Martine Jenkins (December 11, 2019). “US defence bill to restrict PFASs in military firefighting foam, FCMs.” Chemical Watch
EWG (December 10, 2019). “Congress Fails to Protect Americans From PFAS Pollution.”
Safer Chemicals Healthy Families (December 17, 2019). “Final NDAA will end military use of toxic PFAS firefighting foam; Congress must act in 2020 to hold polluters accountable and clean up PFAS.”
Lisa Martine Jenkins (December 21, 2019). “US military restrictions on PFASs become law.” Chemical Watch
Armed Services Committee (December 2019). “FY2020 NDAA Summary.” (pdf)