LANSING, Mich. (May 4, 2023) — Sen. Jeff Irwin (D–Ann Arbor) introduced Senate Bill 327 on Wednesday. The bill would ban toxic PFAS, bisphenol, and phthalate “forever chemicals” from use in food packaging manufactured or sold in Michigan. Used for their water- and grease-resistant properties, PFAS are linked to several adverse health effects, including testicular cancer, high cholesterol, low infant birth weights, compromised immune systems, kidney cancer, infertility, and thyroid hormone disruption. PFAS leaching into food from containers is a significant source of exposure.
“We shouldn’t have to worry about whether the packaging on our food is slowly poisoning us,” said Sen. Irwin. “Although a few companies have pledged to switch to safer materials, we need a law that ensures the safety of all our food. Food packaging materials should be free of these classes of known toxic chemicals that pollute our bodies and the world around us.”
“People in my community have faced serious and tragic health effects from PFAS contaminating our water,” said Sandy Wynn-Stelt, Co-Chair of the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network. “We don’t need to have more persistent pollutants added to our environment as a result of food packaging manufacturing. And we certainly don’t need more PFAS added to our accumulated body burden from the food we eat. Every day that we allow the food packaging industry to continue using these materials creates more health problems and adds more toxic chemicals to our land, air and water. This bill would turn off the tap on the source of that pollution.”
Testing shows PFAS are commonly found in a wide range of grocery and restaurant food packaging, from bottles to pressed-fiber plates. According to Ecology Center, more than one-third of packaging from burger chains and nearly 90% of packaging tested from health-conscious chains tested positive for PFAS chemicals.