PFAS In Food Packaging Target of New CA Regulatory Body

Aug 24, 2020 | Environmental, PFAS, Toxic Tort

California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (CDTSC) is holding a public consultation on its proposal to regulate plant fiber-based food packaging containing PFAS as a Priority Product under the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) regulations. Under the regulations, a product meets the criteria for being listed as a Priority Product if:

“(1) There must be potential public and/or aquatic, avian, or terrestrial animal or plant organism exposure to the Candidate Chemical(s) in the product; and

(2) There must be the potential for one or more exposures to contribute to or cause significant or widespread adverse impacts.”

More specifically, CDTSC determined, without citing to any scientific literature or accepted epidemiology, that the adverse impacts from PFAS range from harms “to sensitive subpopulations, including fetuses, infants, young children, and workers; to environmentally sensitive habitats; and to threatened and endangered species.”

CDTSC will hold a virtual workshop (sign up by clicking on this link) on its proposal on August 31, 2020. An agenda for the workshop can be found here.  In advance of the workshop, CDTSC issued a 184 page document detailing some of the information that it is concerned with. More specifically, CDTSC indicates that it is especially interested in comments answering the following questions:

  1. Are the definitions of “plant fiber-based food packaging,” “paper,” “paperboard,” and “molded fiber” clear and unambiguous?
  2. What significant and long-term changes have occurred in the food packaging industry as a result of the COVID-19 crisis?
  3. Which PFAS-containing food packaging products do you recommend DTSC prioritizes and why?
  4. Which specific plant fiber-based food packaging products:
    • tend to contain PFASs most commonly?
    • tend to contain PFASs in highest concentrations?
  5. Which specific plant fiber-based food packaging products containing PFASs:
    • are sold in highest volume?
    • tend to be composted?
  6. Are you able to provide DTSC with any additional information about the specific PFASs that are used in food packaging in the U.S., including but not limited to their impurities, by-products, or degradation products?
  7. Do you have any further information on alternatives to food packaging containing PFASs?
  8. How have manufacturers responded to the new compostability certification requirements that the products should be free of intentionally-added PFASs?

Comments on the proposal are due September 13, 2020. CDTSC states that stakeholder comments and input provided during the public comment period and at the related workshop will help it refine its priority product definition.

CMBG3 Law is following judicial, legislative, administrative, and scientific developments relating to PFAS. More information about the services we can provide, including risk assessments, to ensure your business is ready for any intersection with these substances can be found on our PFAS Litigation page.

Our attorneys have been at the forefront of PFAS issues, including giving presentations as to the future waves of litigation stemming from PFAS issues. For more information, please contact any of our PFAS – Toxic Torts Team: Jessica Deyoe, Suzanne Englot, Alexandra Fraher,or John Gardella.

Written By:

Authored By:

John Gardella, Esq.


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