NYSDEC Bans PFAS in Food Packaging

By Maria DeKoning

Stacked pizza boxes

The NYSDEC has been putting into consideration ways to limit PFAS in our environment and invites the stakeholders to attend a public meeting regarding the PFAS in Food Packaging Law. The webinar will include an overview of the planned implementation of the law in December 2022.

What are PFAS?

PFAS is short for pre- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and is regarded as many as “Forever Chemicals”. They are a type of man-made chemical that is typically used in products to make them stain resistant, and repel oil and water. These chemicals are not naturally occurring and can become persistent in the environment for long periods. The DEC defines PFAS as “a class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom.” The term “intentionally added” is taken to mean “a chemical in a product that serves an intended function in the product component.” In our food packaging, they are generally used in to-go packaging like pizza boxes or fast-food containers to make them grease resistant.

Why are They Being Banned?

PFAS are detrimental to human health and the environment. From an early study conducted in 2005, three epidemiologists found a “probable link between long-term exposure to PFAS and medical conditions such as thyroid disease and kidney cancer. In early 2016, the USDA banned the three worst PFAS chemicals from food packaging but hundreds of other strains of this chemical are still widely used throughout the US today. California and New York are the first two states to ban PFAS in food packaging.

These chemicals have also been known to show up in the food we eat, our clothes, and around our homes. Banning the use of them in our food packaging will ensure that they do not end up in our bodies. Unfortunately, these chemicals persist in the environment and in our bodies once introduced and move quickly through the environment making them hard to contain. Even very low levels of PFAS can negatively affect our health.

When Will This Change Occur?

The law is set to be in full effect on December 31, 2022. This law will only limit PFAS in food packaging and make it so no one is allowed to distribute, sell, or offer for sale any food packaging containing PFAS substances as intentionally added chemicals. Until then, it is best to keep in mind whether your food packaging contains PFAS. The DEC recommends that anyone purchasing packaging for food distribution or sale confirms with the manufacturer that PFAS is not intentionally added to the product. For more information on this ban, tune in to the DEC webinar hosted by the DEC on Sept. 6 at 11 AM. You must register for this webinar beforehand on the DEC website. Contact: Carmelle Sanders, NYS DEC Division of Materials Management, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7252, Phone: (518) 402-8706, Email:

Share this Post:
Article by Maria DeKoning
Maria DeKoning is the Social Media Coordinator and a Junior Environmental Scientist at Galli Engineering. When she is not writing blog posts for the company, she assists with environmental work such as Environmental Assessments and maintenance of the Galli social media pages. She enjoys researching new environmental topics and technology and making them known to the public through her writing.