California bans PFAS chemicals in baby products and food packaging


California on Tuesday became one of the first states to ban a class of harmful chemicals, known as PFAS, from food packaging and products for infants and children after Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills.

PFAS have been linked to reproductive issues, cancer and other health issues, and consumer and environmental groups say new laws will protect Californians from so-called “chemicals forever.” Because they stay in the body and the environment for years.

The law banning PFAS in food packaging applies to all types of paper and plant-based containers, wrappers, and straws, and also requires cookware containing them to include a warning label. The Infant and Children’s Products Act prohibits cribs, mattresses, high chairs, playpens, strollers and many other items.

“This law puts California at the forefront of protecting children’s health,” Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. “We applaud Governor Newsom for giving parents the assurance that the products they buy for their children are free from toxic PFAS.”

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances, are a class of over 9,000 known chemicals that are linked to several types of cancer, obesity, endocrine disruption, low birth weight, dysfunction liver and thyroid disease, among other health problems.

Maine recently banned PFAS from almost all products, except some medical and electronic products. California followed that state along with Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington with its ban on PFASs in food packaging, where they are primarily used to make paper-based packaging waterproof and resistant to grease, according to the Environmental Working Group.

In infant and toddler products, PFASs often appear on the coverings of items such as infant seats and mattresses. If they go away, babies and toddlers can easily ingest or inhale them.

Last year, California also banned PFAS in cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products.

Tara Duggan is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @taraduggan


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