Beginning the coming year, Denmark will be the very first nation to go through with barring PFAS chemicals from food packaging. The chemicals have been known to link to cancer, increased cholesterol and lessened fertility.
Also known as ‘forever chemicals’ since they are unable to be broken down by the environment, PFAS products are utilized so as to fend off oil and water when packaging fatty, moist foods, for instance burgers and desserts. Surfaces layered in PFAS become nonstick and greaseproof; great characteristics for food packaging. They are also used in carpets, leathers, rubbers, paper, dental floss etc.
On Monday, Mogens Jensen, Denmark’s Food Minister, stated how he does not want to live with the risk that dangerous fluorinated substances are moving from the packaging and into the foods people eat.
On its website, EPA said: “Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body ― meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time.”
PFAS chemicals are a class of chemicals, also known as “perflourinated” or “flourinated” compounds. They commonly coat microwave popcorn bags, baking paper, and take-out containers.
In a press release which publicized the ban, the government of Denmark stated how, thankfully, there were other ways of making paper grease and water-proof which don’t carry the potential to causing cancer and various endocrine disorders. The new regulations have asked producers to manufacture products such as baking paper and microwave popcorn bags etc. without any PFAS coating.
Arlene Blum, from the Green Science Policy Institute and the Dept. of Chemistry at University of California, congratulated Denmark on being the forerunner in the pursuit for healthier food. She also expressed hope that it will encourage the EU, U.S. and countries around the globe to do the same.