California Governor Signs Bill Targeting PFAS in Food Packaging and Cookware
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1200, known as the California Safer Food Packaging Cookware Act of 2021, on October 5, 2021. The bill bans the use of perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging composed in substantial part of paper, paperboard, or other materials derived from plant fibers. It also requires warning labels on cookware to which PFAS was intentionally added. Similar to other state laws on PFAS in food packaging, the California law defines PFAS as “fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.”
Under the new law, the sale of plant fiber-based food packaging that contains PFAS that has been intentionally added to have a functional or technical in the product, or is present in the product at or above 100 parts per million, will be banned beginning January 1, 2023. In addition, as of January 1, 2024, manufacturers of cookware that contains any chemical on the state’s Green Chemistry list of chemicals of concern must list the presence of those chemicals on the product label, and post this information on the internet, along with a link to the authoritative lists for the relevant substances. Finally, cookware manufacturers are prohibited from claiming that cookware is free of any specific chemical on the list if the chemical belongs to the same chemical group or class of chemicals that are listed, effective January 1, 2023.
AB 1200, which was introduced by Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), was amended by the Senate on August 23, 2021. The amended version passed the Senate by a vote of 36-0 on September 3, 2021, then was sent back to the Assembly for concurrence, which took place on September 7 by a vote of 60-0. (A PackagingLaw.com article on the bill prior to the August 23 amendments can be found here.)
Amendments made to the bill by the Senate on August 23 included changing “prohibited PFAS” to “regulated PFAS” and defining “regulated PFAS” as either:
“PFAS that a manufacturer has intentionally added to a product and that have a functional or technical effect in the product, including the PFAS components of intentionally added chemicals and PFAS that are intentional breakdown products of an added chemical that also have a functional or technical effect in the product”
“The presence of PFAS in a product or product component at or above 100 parts per million, as measured in total organic fluorine.”
Another change related to the definition of “food packaging.” Straws was added to the list of items in the definition and the phrase “but is not limited to” preceding the list of items was deleted. A similar change was made to the definition of “cookware,” with the phrase “but is not limited to” preceding the list of example cookware product also deleted.
Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington also have enacted bans on PFAS in food packaging.