WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) led 77 of her colleagues in sending a letter to Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Kathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. As Congress considers the reauthorization of FDA user fee programs, the letter urges inclusion of a bipartisan Senate-passed amendment led by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) that would prohibit per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging in any final legislation.
“A growing body of evidence continues to show the negative impact of PFAS on Americans’ health. Scientific studies have linked PFAS chemicals to a variety of health hazards, including various cancers, increases in cholesterol levels, reproductive problems, as well as low birth weight and weakened childhood immunity,” Dingell writes. “Critically, individuals are at higher risk for these health impacts when repeatedly exposed to PFAS, given that they bioaccumulate and do not degrade in the environment. Indeed, recent findings by the National Academy of Sciences as well as updated advisories by the Environmental Protection Agency have indicated that most Americans receive exposure to PFAS at a level of potential concern.”
“Because of the health risks, states and individual companies are already taking action to remove PFAS from food packaging. California, New York, Maine, Vermont, Washington, Connecticut, Minnesota, Maryland, Hawaii, Colorado, and Rhode Island have already passed laws banning PFAS in food packaging, and multiple other states are currently considering similar legislation,” Dingell continues. “Additionally, leading companies, including McDonald’s, Starbucks, Whole Foods, as well as Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Horton’s, have removed or are planning to remove PFAS chemicals from the food packaging of their products.”
“However, to fully eliminate the potential danger of PFAS chemicals from food packaging, federal action is required. The Senate-passed amendment would address the need for a comprehensive solution to this issue and is based on legislation that has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate,” Dingell concludes. “Inclusion of the Senate-passed amendment prohibiting intentionally added PFAS in food packaging would address this public health risk, is bipartisan, and consistent with the best science as well as actions currently being taken by states and companies. Given this, we ask that you include this critical provision in any final FDA user fee reauthorization package.”
Dingell has been a leading voice in the fight against PFAS. The Senate-passed amendment is a version of the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act that Dingell introduced in November 2021. Her bipartisan PFAS Action Act, which she introduced with Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), passed the House in July of 2021. She also introduced both the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act and Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act.
View the full text of the letter here.