Skip to main content

Maine Bans Phthalates in Food Packaging; Addresses PFAS in Food Packaging

bag of microwave popcorn

On June 13, Maine’s governor signed L.D. 1433 (H.P. 1043) into law. The law amends the state’s toxic chemicals in packaging law to prohibit the intentional use of phthalates in food packaging, effective January 1, 2022. 

The new law also authorizes the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to issue a rule prohibiting the sale of food packaging containing intentionally added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), provided the Department first determines that a safer alternative is available. The prohibition may not take effect until January 1, 2022, or two years following the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s determination that a safer alternative is available - whichever is later. The “safer alternative” must be readily available in sufficient quantity, at a comparable cost, and perform equally as well as the material it is replacing in the intended application.

Exemptions exist for the phthalates and PFAS provisions for food packaging manufactured before 1992, alcoholic beverages bottled before 1992 and manufacturers of food and beverage products with annual national sales below $1 billion.

The law also gives the state authority to identify “chemicals of concern” in food packaging. Under this authority, the state can require: (1) disclosure of the chemical of concern in the food package via written notice to state authorities, (2) that an alternative assessment be completed for the chemical of concern, and (3) ban the chemical of concern when used in food packaging if a safer alternative is deemed to exist.

 (For historical information on the law, see the article, Proposed Maine Bill Would Prohibit Phthalates and PFAS in Food Packaging.)