New law protects New Yorkers from toxic PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ exposure

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Gov. Cuomo has signed a bill banning PFAS in food packaging sold in New York state


ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill last week banning toxic PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” from use in food containers sold across the state of New York. New York has joined Washington and Maine to become the third state to pass a bill addressing PFAS exposure and pollution from food packaging. The new law will become effective Dec. 31, 2022. 

PFAS are used in food packaging such as takeout containers and pizza boxes to make the packaging resistant to water and grease. When PFAS-treated food packaging is used, the chemicals can leach into the food and then into our bodies. The dangerous chemicals can also seep out into our soil and water when the packaging ends up in a landfill. As a result, scientists have found PFAS contaminating the blood of 97 percent of Americans. 

PFAS chemicals have been linked to various health problems, including decreased vaccine response, high cholesterol, liver disease, complications with pregnancy, low birth weight and cancer.

In response, Danielle Melgar, U.S. PIRG’s Toxics Program advocate, released the following statement:

“New York’s ban on PFAS-treated food packaging helps move us in the right direction. Consumers should be able to trust that the packaging wrapped around the food we eat every day isn’t full of toxic chemicals. Alternatives to PFAS-treated food packaging already exist. But even if they didn’t, is the threat of greasy fingers worth the risk of cancer?”