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Washington becomes first state to ban PFASs in food packaging

Washington has become the first US state to ban perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) from food contact materials.

Last week, state governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill (ESHB 2658) that will block the use of the entire fluorinated chemical class from food contact materials.

The prohibition will take effect from 1 January 2022, provided the state’s department of ecology identify a safer alternative by 2020. This alternatives analysis must take into account hazard and exposure factors, as well as the availability, performance and cost of the alternative.

The bill has been touted as a "major defeat for the chemical and packaging industries, which have quashed similar proposed bans in other states," according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

"It marks an important shift away from regulating one chemical at a time, to removing a whole class of fluorinated chemicals in food packaging," the NGO said.

But industry groups have complained about the law’s duplication of federal food contact regulations under the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as its regulation of a broad class of substances.

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