WASHINGTON – A key Senate committee yesterday approved by a 13 to 9 vote an amendment to ban the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS from food packaging.
The bipartisan amendment, known as the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act, was introduced in the upper chamber by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). If enacted, the amendment would ban the use of PFAS in food packaging beginning on January 1, 2024.
During a June 14 Senate Health Education Labor & Pensions Committee meeting, Hassan successfully offered the PFAS bill as an amendment to legislation renewing Food and Drug Administration fees for reviewing drug and medical devices.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) were among the 13 members of the health committee who voted for the amendment, with nine senators opposed.
The FDA has repeatedly failed to ban PFAS from food packaging, despite calls from the Environmental Working Group and others to act because of evidence linking PFAS to cancer and other health harms.
“Food is likely a significant source of exposure to these dangerous chemicals for millions of Americans,” said EWG senior scientist David Andrews, Ph.D.
“The Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act would quickly cut off a potentially major and completely avoidable source of exposure to these forever chemicals,” said Andrews. “We applaud Sen. Hassan for making PFAS in food packaging a priority.”
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) has introduced a companion bill in the House.
If the FDA bill, including Hassan’s amendment, clears the Senate, differences between it and the House user fee bill will need to be hammered out. The House version of the bill does not seek to ban PFAS from food packaging.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.