In a letter sent on February 24, 2020, a coalition of stakeholders including civil society groups and actor Mark Ruffalo urged UK ministers to restrict the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging. The letter cites Denmark’s commitment to phase out PFAS in paper and board food packaging from July 2020 (FPF reported) as well a recent proposal from the Netherlands for a complete phase-out of non-essential PFAS in the EU (FPF reported). The signatories wrote that “this ongoing, and largely unregulated, toxification of our environment is a generational catastrophe that cannot be allowed to continue. There is no ongoing effort to clean up the widespread PFAS pollution in our environment, so we need stringent regulation now that stops it at its source.”

The letter notes that a shift towards paper and board food packaging is expected with the single-use plastics directive coming into force in the EU (FPF reported). “It is imperative that action is taken now to ensure we are not simply replacing one problem with another.” The letter comes after the release of the film “Dark Waters” starring Mark Ruffalo (FPF reported) and after Scottish non-governmental organization Fidra reported finding PFAS across a wide range of supermarket and restaurant packaging in the UK (FPF reported). Fidra is also collecting signatures from the public for a petition urging UK supermarkets to voluntarily remove PFAS from their packaging.

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Fidra (February 2020). “Supermarkets: please remove forever chemicals from your food packaging.”

PFAS Free (February 24, 2020). “Re: Urgent Need for PFAS / Forever Chemicals Regulation.” (pdf)

Clelia Oziel (February 26, 2020). “Mark Ruffalo joins NGOs, scientists to press for UK ban on PFASs.” Chemical Watch