"FDA Raises Alarm Over PFAS-Tainted Food Containers"

"FDA is warning the food industry that certain processes for producing plastic used for food containers may result in PFAS leaching into food.

The same types of plastic containers EPA blamed for pesticides contaminated with PFAS may also be used to store food, raising alarm bells at the Food and Drug Administration.

At issue are fluorinated containers made of high-density polyethylene, a material widely used in food packaging because it can easily seal out moisture and other temperature changes. The packaging is generally used during the manufacturing process to hold large quantities of ingredients like oils or flavorings.

This spring, EPA determined that such containers were responsible for contaminating pesticides with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as “forever chemicals” and linked to thyroid disease and cancer even at very low levels.

Now, FDA is warning the food industry that unlawful fluorination processes for similar containers could be contaminating food with PFAS, too.

In a letter sent yesterday, FDA reminded the industry that only certain fluorinated polyethylene containers are approved for contact with food. Fluorinating packaging after it has been molded, or in the presence of water, is not allowed. Only fluorine gas and nitrogen can be used during the fluorination process, FDA warned, as using other gases like oxygen or argon can cause those gases to attach to carbon atoms and create PFAS."

Ariel Wittenberg and E.A. Crunden report for E&E News August 6, 2021.


"Half Of US Cosmetics Contain Toxic Chemicals" (VOA)

"FDA Alert Spurs Call to Check Containers for ‘Forever Chemicals’" (Bloomberg Environment)

Source: E&E News, 08/11/2021