Washington State regulating chemicals of concern in food packaging

2022-06-15

In early June 2022, the US state of Washington Department of Ecology (DoE) published its final report for the first implementation cycle of the Safer Products for Washington program. The report obligates the state to regulate certain priority chemicals in key consumer products including food packaging by June 2023. Food packaging related changes include a restriction, potentially taking the form of a complete ban, of phenolic compounds including all bisphenols in the lining of drink cans and obligatory reporting of bisphenols in the lining of food cans. Tetramethyl bisphenol F (TMBPF) is excluded from these obligations.

DoE determined that the “vast majority” of bisphenols with enough data to assess safety did not meet the department’s criteria for “safer.” TMBPF met the minimum criteria to be considered “safer” but DoE could not determine if replacing all bisphenols with TMBPF would completely avoid adverse outcomes, i.e. regrettable substitution. So the chemical is allowed with limits. “This means that in applications where TMBPF is present as a residual monomer at concentrations below 100 ppm, it may be considered a safer alternative.”

The Safer Products for Washington program launched in 2019 with a piece of legislation directing the DoE “to identify and take action on products containing harmful chemicals that pose a health threat to sensitive populations, like pregnant women and children, and sensitive species like orcas and salmon” (FPF reported, also here).

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Food Packaging Forum, 15-06-22
; https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/washington-state-regulating-chemicals-of-concern-in-food-packaging