COPENHAGEN, Denmark: The government of Denmark has decided to ban PFAS chemicals, linked with cancer and infertility, in food packaging.
Food Minister Mogens Jensen recently said in a statement, “I do not want to accept the risk of harmful fluorinated substances (PFAS) migrating from the packaging and into our food. These substances represent such a health problem that we can no longer wait for the European Union.”
PFAS chemicals are also known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down in the environment.
These chemicals are used to repel grease and water in packaging for fatty and moist foods such as burgers and cakes.
Research has found that there are several adverse health impacts associated with PFAS exposure, including but not limited to liver damage, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer.
Denmark’s new regulation will prevent companies from using the compounds in baking paper and food bags.
“We congratulate Denmark on leading the way for healthier food and hope this will encourage similar action across the EU, the US and worldwide,” remarked Arlene Blum of the Green Science Policy Institute and the Department of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley.
“Given the potential for harm, we must ask if the convenience of water and grease resistance is worth risking our health,” Blum said.
The ban will be in place next year, government sources say.