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Dingell Introduces Bill to Ban PFAS in Food Containers and Cookware

Washington, May 17, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced legislation to ban the use of toxic perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) in food containers and cookware.

Recent attention has focused on PFAS in ground water and the environment. The hazardous substance is frequently used to greaseproof, waterproof, and give nonstick properties to food containers, cookware, and consumer products. The Environmental Working Group found that as much as 40 percent of fast food wrappers and paper products tested positive for fluorine chemicals. Peer-reviewed studies found that PFAS chemicals in food containers can contaminate food. PFAS chemicals have been linked to liver disease, thyroid dysfunction, and several forms of cancer.

“Everywhere you look, PFAS is threatening public health and contaminating our way of life,” said Dingell. “We already know the double cheeseburger and fries are not the most healthy meal, but no one suspects the dangerous chemicals seeping into your food from the wrapper or food containers. This important legislation ensures unsafe, hazardous chemicals are not allowed near the food we eat.”

The Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act 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. The text of the bill is available here.

Dingell leads efforts in Congress to combat and address PFAS contamination. She led the introduction of The PFAS Action Act which would simply require the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list all PFAS chemicals, including PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals, as hazardous substances under the Superfund clean-up program within one year.

This week the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on numerous bills, including Dingell’s PFAS Action Act, that address the threat to public health and the environment. One witness, Erik Olson – Senior Director for Health & Food at the Natural Resources Defense Council – testified on the need to ban PFAS in food containers and cookware.

Olson wrote in his prepared testimony, “While FDA has banned certain long-chain PFAS from food packaging in response to a petition from NRDC and our allies, other PFAS are essentially unregulated in food packaging and food contact substances. Legislation is needed to ban PFAS from these uses and from cosmetics and personal care products like dental floss.”

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