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Health, Environmental, Faith, and Community Groups Tackle Nonstick PFAS Chemicals

United behind the belief that cancer-causing nonstick “PFAS” chemicals do not belong in our food, our bodies, or the environment, over 30 leading health, environmental, community, and faith organizations have come together in the 2018 legislative session to urge passage of the Healthy Food Packaging Act (HB 2658/SB 6396).

Contamination from PFAS chemicals affects many people and areas in Washington state – from drinking water to our bodies to Puget Sound – and it’s why so many diverse organizations are concerned. The use of nonstick chemicals in food packaging alone can contaminate food and the environment.

Getting these extremely persistent and harmful chemicals out of food packaging in favor of safer alternatives should be a no-brainer. We need actions that put our state on a path to phasing out the worst sources of these virtually indestructible chemicals and the Healthy Food Packaging Act is great place to start.

Here’s what groups are saying about the need to take action now:

“Scientists are concerned because nonstick PFAS chemicals pose a substantial risk to human health. Studies have found that the older versions of these chemicals are associated with cancer, immune dysregulation, and hormone disruption. There is growing evidence that suggests the newer generation of chemicals may share these same characteristics.” – Katie Pelch of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange

“Fast food restaurants and convenience stores often outnumber grocery stores in communities of color. This means that these communities can have a greater exposure to PFAS chemicals from food packaging. We need to get them out of food packaging so all people are protected.” – Monserrat Jauregui of the Latino Community Fund

“The Arc of Washington supports the Healthy Food Packaging Act because individuals with developmental disabilities, who can have compromised immune systems, often must rely on convenience foods that can be packaged in nonstick-coated materials. The food our members and their families depend on shouldn’t be full of chemicals that can make them sick.” – Diana Stadden of the Arc of Washington

“Getting PFAS chemicals out of food packaging is important for a healthy and sustainable food system. One thing we are particularly concerned about is PFAS chemicals contaminating the compost that people use to grow food. We think of compost as a way to build healthy soil and grow nutritious food, but not if it is filled with chemicals from PFAS coated “compostable” packaging.” – Jenny Thacker of the Tilth Alliance

Organizations supporting the effort include: