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California Bill Would Prohibit Fluorinated Chemicals in Fast Food Packaging

March 30, 2017

Following on the heels of a study by the Silent Spring Institute suggesting that fast food paper and paperboard may contain poly or perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and that PFAS may pose safety or environmental concerns, California Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has introduced a bill, AB-958, that would “prohibit a food provider from serving, selling, offering for sale, or offering for promotional purposes prepared food or fast food in, on, or with take-out food service ware or packaging that contains a fluorinated chemical.” (For more information on the Silent Spring study, see the PackagingLaw.com article, Study Goes After Fluorinated Grease-Proofing Agents in Paper.)

The definition of fluorinated chemical in AB-958 is much broader than just PFAS, as it defines a fluorinated chemical as “an organic or inorganic substance that contains at least one fluorine atom, including, but not limited to, a perfluorinated or polyfluorinated alkyl substance, fluorinated polymer, or fluorotelomer-based chemical.” Importantly, this would be a content based prohibition and, therefore, would apply even when there is no measurable migration of fluorinated chemicals to the food.

The bill has been referred to California State Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.