FDA Announces the Voluntary Phase-Out by Industry of Certain PFAS Used in Food Packaging

August 4, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing the voluntary phase-out of a certain type of short-chain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), that contain 6:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (6:2 FTOH), which may be found in certain food contact substances used as grease-proofing agents on paper and paperboard food packaging.

Today’s announcement follows an FDA post-market scientific review and analysis of data from rodent studies finding biopersistence of 6:2 FTOH. While the findings were in rodents, the data point to the potential that 6:2 FTOH may also persist in humans following dietary exposure. Further scientific studies are needed to better understand the potential human health risks from dietary exposure resulting from authorized food contact substances for short-chain PFAS that contain 6:2 FTOH. This phased market removal balances uncertainty about the potential for public health risks with minimizing potential market disruptions during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Three manufacturers have agreed to a 3-year phase-out of their sales of compounds that contain 6:2 FTOH for use as food contact substances in the U.S. marketplace, beginning in 2021. After the 3-year period, it is anticipated that it may take up to 18 months to exhaust existing stocks of products containing these food contact substances from the market. The fourth manufacturer informed the FDA in 2019 that they had already stopped sales of their food contact substances that may contain 6:2 FTOH for use in the U.S. market.