The US state of Washington has followed the example of California and the European Union (EU) by introducing measures to regulate the use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS chemicals, in food contact materials and articles.
The new law, issued under proposal ESHB 2658 (Chapter 138, Laws 2018), was signed by the state governor on March 21, 2018. It will amend and create a new entry under Chapter 70.95G RCW (Revised Code of Washington) ‘Packages Containing Metals’. It requires the Department of Ecology (DOE) to conduct an alternatives assessment and then publish its findings by January 1, 2020. If safer alternatives are identified, the prohibition on PFAS chemicals will come into effect on January 1, 2022.
If alternatives are not found, the DOE is required to conduct further alternatives assessments every year until a suitable replacement is found. In this case, the effect date will be two years after the final DOE report.
The new regulations also require food packaging manufacturers to provide a certificate of compliance (CoC) stating that the packaging conforms to the requirements by the effective date. This must be kept for as long as the package or packaging component is in use, and for a further three years after the date of the last sale or distribution. Certificates of compliance must be made available to the DOE within 60 days of request.
PFAS chemicals are a family of fluorinated organic chemicals that contain at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom. They are a diverse family of synthetic substances that are used in the manufacture of many common products with anti-stain, water, grease, oil and/or dirt properties. These chemicals, which include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are known to be used in the manufacture of:
- Fast food containers
- Firefighting foams
- Microwave popcorn bags
- Non-stick cookware
- Paper wrappers such as those for sandwiches and butter
- Stain-resistant carpets and upholstered furniture
- Waterproof apparel and equipment
The introduction of the state of Washington’s prohibition follows similar regulations in California and the EU. California included PFOA and PFOS under its Proposition 65 (Prop 65) list of chemicals in November 2017, meaning businesses have until November 10, 2018 to provide a ‘clear and reasonable’ warning before intentionally exposing anyone to these two chemicals. In the EU, PFOA and PFOA-related substances are regulated under entry 68 to Annex XVII of REACH.
Stakeholders are advised to check their products remain compliant with the latest regulations relating to food contact materials in their target markets. SGS can assist through the provision of a range of services, including analytical testing and consultancy for PFAS in consumer products for the US and international markets
SGS Home Furnishings & Houseware Services
SGS’s technical experts have extensive experience of testing materials and articles in contact with food. They can ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials and pave the way for compliance. SGS offers the full range of testing, including migration tests, along with expert advice on emerging regulations, compliance issues and documentation review. Learn more about SGS’s Home Furnishings & Houseware Services.
SGS SafeGuardS keep you up to date with the latest news and developments in the consumer goods industry. Read the full Washington State Regulates Perfluorinated Chemicals in Food Packaging SafeGuardS.
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For further information contact:
Hing Wo Tsang Ph.D
Global Information and Innovation Manager
Tel:(+852) 2774 7420
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world.