Washington has signed into law the Healthy Food Packaging Act (H.B. 2658/S.B. 6396), making the state the first in the country to ban perfluorinated chemicals (PFAs) in food packaging.

If the Washington’s Department of Ecology identifies safer alternatives to PFAs by January 1, 2020, the law will ban PFAs in paper food packaging effective January 1, 2022. If the state is unable to find a safer alternative, the law will not go into effect and the Department of Ecology must annually review the availability of alternatives. When the department finds an acceptable alternative, the ban will go into effect two years later.

Washington is not the only state to target chemicals in food packaging. As we previously reported, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were added under California Proposition 65 to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity (developmental endpoint). The warning requirement takes effect on November 10, 2018.

As we also previously reported, California is considering regulating food packaging as part of its Green Chemistry Initiative and the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) implementing regulations, based in part on use of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances that “create grease-proof and water-proof coatings for food packaging.”