Denmark just became the first country to ban a toxic lining common in food containers

By Zoƫ Schlanger | QUARTZ | September 3, 2019

Read the full article by Zoë Schlanger (QUARTZ)

Denmark on Monday (Sept. 2) became the first country to completely ban PFAS from food packaging. The class of chemicals, also referred to as “perflourinated” or “flourinated” compounds, commonly coats microwave popcorn bags, baking paper, and take-out containers...

PFAS are present in food packaging around the world. At fast-food chains like Chipotle and Sweetgreen, for example, “compostable” fiber containers are turning up in lieu of plastic ones. While single-use plastic continues to be a very bad idea and a scourge on the planet, and replacing it is, at first blush, a good thing, there’s a problem with the new bowls: They’re lined with PFAS.

The bowls are often marketed as compostable, but as awareness of PFAS grows, that feature is becoming a problem. One study of compost from five US states found PFAS levels as much as ten times higher in the soil from facilities that accepted food packaging. This year, composting facilities in Oregon sent a letter to a biodegradable packaging industry group, to announce that they wouldn’t take any more food packaging. The PFAS would contaminate the facilities’ compost, which could no longer be labeled as organic.

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