Bipartisan bill to ban PFAS chemicals in food containers introduced in Congress today

PFAS policy leaders and science experts urge Congress to act soon on the legislation

UPDATED: 12:00p ET 11-18-2021 | WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today the bipartisan Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and in the House of Representatives by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Don Young (R-Alaska).  The legislation will ban the use of any perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) as a food contact substance.

The Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act would ban the use of toxic PFAS in food containers and cookware. The bill empowers the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to deem PFAS substances in any food containers or cookware as unsafe. The bill gives the FDA until 2022 to enforce this ban.

PFAS- per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

 

PFAS has been manufactured in North Carolina since the 1950s, first by DuPont and then Chemours.

 

What is Pfas

PFAS – is a family of around 5,000 different chemicals. They are widely used in industry and manufacturing to make non-stick and grease-repellent products, such as

 

• waterproof jackets
• non-stick cookware
• Fast food packaging
• fire-fighting foam
• stain-repellent fabrics. 

 

BIPOC communities living in affordable housing, not equitable housing or environmentally sound housing, will find themselves exposed to PFAS in

 

• Carpet,
• painted walls
• furniture


BIPOC communities living in Pfas saturated environments must contend with their water supply being compromised with Pfas thanks to the significant spill in the Cape Fear River.

BIPOC and low wealth communities are located in Food insecurity zones. The USDA has identified 349 food deserts in North Carolina, affecting over 1.5 million resident communities found in urban areas 10 miles from a grocery store. Those located in rural areas are 20 miles away from a grocery store. Now, factors in BIPOC communities rely on Public transit and walking as their modes of transportation. This lethal combination of the lack of access to healthy food and transportation causes these communities to be highly dependent upon fast-food restaurants. Major fast-food companies are selling meals served in packaging "intentionally treated with PFAS. There are Zero Grocery stores in 349 food deserts in North Carolina's BIPOC and low wealth communities.

BIPOC communities across North Carolina face barriers to healthcare access. Research reveals the stunning effects of PFAS on the human body, causing cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease. 

While restaurants such as McDonald's have determined to cease pfas inclusion in their products by 2025, that is not enough. We can't bear another year of this contamination, definitely not 4+ more years. And we need Congress to pass a Policy that requires all fast food corporations to discontinue the use of pfas and includes protections for BIPOC Communities, so our homes don't become the dumping ground and landfills for this soon to be discontinued poison.