Bipartisan legislation that arrives the Congress this week would ban the use of PFAS “forever chemicals” in the country and significantly minimize food exposure to extremely toxic chemicals of such kind, say the supporters. However, as the Senate fight looms, its passage doesn’t seem certain.
PFAS is a common chemical compound being used in the industry to make food resistant to grease, stains, water, and heat. The food industry in the US especially used this chemical to prevent paper items from decaying.
PFAS’ nickname “forever chemicals” has emerged as the chemical compound doesn’t break down even inside the human body.
“We cannot continue to be poisoned by these chemicals,” said Debbie Dingell, Democratic congresswoman who introduced the legislation to the House. “Chemical manufacturers are going to try to get senators to stop PFAS from being banned, but there’s enough data that shows that it’s a threat to people … so we need to do something” she continued.
As per the US researchers, PFAS is commonly used in making paper straws, carryout containers, sandwich wrappers, and molded fiber items such as “clamshells”.
Mcdonalds, Subway, Whole Foods, and other independent restaurants that ironically mark their packaging as “green” have been detected using the same chemical in excess.
As per the reports, the chemical is also used in the nonstick aluminum wrap and plastic containers in bulk to store food flavorings. Despite protective measures, the chemical can leak into the food and cause kidney, cancer, and liver diseases.
“People don’t realize that the chemicals are coming in contact with food that they’re eating and that’s a way that PFAS is getting into their bodies,” said Dingell.
Despite strong evidence of the chemical’s toxicity, a similar bill previously introduced in the House was filibustered. It is still unknown who killed it as Senate allows filibustering any bill anonymously.
The industry allies who opposed the PFAS ban bill in the House include Senator Jim Inhofe, a member of the environmental committee who has received $60,000 from chemical producers in the last session.
Despite immense public support for the bill, advocates expect oppositions to cause complications this time as well.
“I don’t think the chemical or food packaging industries are retreating even though there’s mounting evidence that there’s a lot of the chemical in food packaging,” said Olson, “Clearly, there’s a big problem with an evenly divided Senate and the opportunity to filibuster.”
Being a leader in sustainability, Sarah Hunkins tweeted in support of the ban.