WA seeking contributions for 2nd PFAS in the assessment of food packaging alternatives

The Washington Department of Ecology (DoE) has published a draft document that outlines the definitions of specific food packaging applications and the alternatives it plans to use in the Second Alternative Assessment (AA) for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. (PFAS) in food packaging. For your information, the state’s toxic substances in packaging law provides for a ban on PFAS in food packaging two years after the identification of safer alternatives (RCW 70A.222.070).

The first AA for PFAS in food packaging, published in February 2021, determined that alternatives to PFAS are available for: 1) packaging and liners, 2) plates, 3) food vessels and 4) boxes pizza. (You can find more information on the first AA for PFAS in food packaging.)

The Draft — Food Packaging Applications and Candidate Alternatives to PFAS for the Second Alternative Assessment includes new definitions that the DoE is considering for five food packaging applications. The new definitions, based on the general functions of food packaging, concern:

  • Flat serving utensils (shallow, flat bottomed containers with large surfaces used for serving food),
  • Open-top containers (containers with food on all sides except one),
  • Closed containers (containers with food on all sides),
  • Bags and pouches (flexible material receptacles), and
  • Bowls (open containers with wide openings and bottoms that allow food to spoon).

The draft document includes a list of candidate alternative substances that will be assessed in the second AA. The DoE will take into account information from scientific literature, product and chemical databases, and chemical and food packaging manufacturers to assess the use of these alternative substances in food packaging. In particular, the DoE seeks information to support its assessment of hazards, potential for exposure, technical performance, cost and availability of specific alternatives or food packaging products that use a specific alternative.

© 2021 Keller and Heckman srlRevue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 147

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