PFAS Impacts On Food Packaging

PFAS, known as “Forever Chemicals”, widely exists in our daily life. For example, the packaging from fast-food restaurants, snack stores, and grocery stores, was tested and proved positive for PFAS. And it can migrate from packaging into the food you are about to eat. Like the cheese hamburger wrapped in greaseproof paper, which certainly contains PFAS. Or like that Cesar salad you asked for takeaway in a mold fiber bowl, PFAS exists too.

Why PFAS is banned in many countries? First, let`s take a look at the regulations in different areas of the world.

food wrappers paper PFAS free

Worldwide Concerns

The US state of Maine is the first government in the world to ban the sale of products containing per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) starting in 2030.

Also, Maine state bans the sale of new carpets or fabric treatments that contain intentionally added PFAS starting on January 1st, 2023.

More states in the US claimed their effective dates on the bans about food packaging distribution, sale, or offer for sale.

In California, the effective date is Jan 1, 2023. The definition of food packaging includes food or beverage containers, takeout food containers, unit product boxes, liners, wrappers, serving vessels, eating utensils, straws, food boxes, and disposable plates, bowls, or trays.

Hawaii, July 1, 2023. Including food wraps and liners, plates, food boats, and pizza boxes.

New York, Dec. 31, 2022.

Some PFAS chemicals (especially PFOA and PFOS), have been added to lists of toxic chemicals in children`s products.

The governments of Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway have announced that by July 2022, they will formally propose to the European Chemicals Agency (Echa) that Toxic compounds as PFASs be restricted under the legislation. And final agreement by EU member states could be possible as early as 2025.

What Is PFAS exactly?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic organofluorine chemical compounds that have multiple fluorine atoms attached to an alkyl chain. More recently (2021) the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) expanded the definition, stating that  “PFASs are defined as fluorinated substances that contain at least one fully fluorinated methyl or methylene carbon atom (without any H/CI/Br/I  atom attached to it).

A subgroup, the fluorosurfactants or fluorinated surfactants, are more effective at reducing the surface tension of water than comparable hydrocarbon surfactants. They include the perfluorosulfonic acids such as PFOS and PFOA.

 (From Wikipedia.)

Health Impacts of PFAS

Some PFAS are toxic and are related to serious health problems. PFASs are used in a wide range of products including fire-fighting foams, non-stick cookware, and water-resistant fabrics because it has superior advantages of stain-resistant, water-repellent, and grease-proofing properties.

A large number of studies have examined possible relationships between levels of PFAS in blood and harmful health effects in people. These studies reported a variety of health outcomes. Certain levels of PFAS may lead to the following health problems:

  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Changes in liver enzymes
  • Small decreases in infant birth weights
  • Decreased vaccine response in children
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
  • Increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer.

Scientists are still learning about the health effects of exposures to mixtures of different PFAS.

Who Has Taken Methods For Stopping PFAS?

This year, Restaurant Brands International (RBI) announced that it will ban toxic PFAS in food packaging globally by 2025. RBI owns Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons, which is one of the world`s largest quick service restaurant companies with 27,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

As RBi stated: “ As the next step in our product stewardship journey, the Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes brands have required that any added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) be phased out from all approved, guest-facing packaging materials globally by the end of 2025 or sooner.” More details could be seen on their website under “Eliminating Added PFAS”.

McDonald`s and Wendy`s made similar commitments.

More brands have claimed their active date of phasing out PFAS.

PFAS Free Packaging Is Our Future

For our own health and long life, PFAS free is definitely our first choice in daily life including disposable food packaging and other products which may contain high levels of PFASs.

If you are a food packaging manufacturer and looking for PFAS free food packaging paper or cardboard, TF group is pleased to provide our service on base paper and further processed packaging products.

TF group works with one of the top coating material manufacturers and brings sustainable packaging solutions to clients. Meanwhile, customized high-barrier paper and cardboard is available. Please feel free to send an email to

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