California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act (AB 1200)

At a Glance

BCPP is cosponsoring the California Safer Food Packaging & Cookware Act of 2021 (AB 1200 – Ting), introduced in February 2021. 

The bill:

  • Bans paper-based food packaging containing PFAS chemicals
  • Requires cookware manufacturers to disclose the presence of hazardous chemicals
  • Prohibits misleading advertising on cookware packaging

Status: Passed the Assembly on 4/22/2021. Passed the Senate Health Committee 9-2 on 6/23/2021. Passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee 5-2 on 7/7/2021. Passed the Senate 9/3/2021. Passed Concurrence vote 9/7/2021. Next up, Governor Newsom’s desk.

Overview

The California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act of 2021 (AB 1200), authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting, does three things:

  1. Bans toxic PFAS chemicals in paper food packaging in California. The bill bans the sale or distribution of plant-based food packaging that contains intentionally added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of hazardous chemicals known as PFAS. PFAS are known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t break down; they build up in our bodies and the environment, endangering future generations.

Toxic PFAS are widely used in plant-based (paper) food packaging such as cardboard or paper. Examples of PFAS in food packaging include paper wraps, liners, bags, sleeves, dinnerware (plates, bowls, trays), and takeout containers made of molded fiber. From this packaging PFAS get into our food and water. PFAS migrate into the food from the packaging. PFAS remaining in the food packaging, contaminates soil when it is composted and water systems when it is landfilled.

These chemicals are linked to serious health problems, including breast and other cancers, birth defects, hormone disruption, kidney and liver damage, and thyroid disease.

PFAS have also been linked immune system toxicity – including decreased antibody response to vaccines, an effect that is particularly concerning now in light of COVID-19. Learn more about the links between PFAS and breast cancer.

  1. Requires cookware manufacturers to disclose hazardous chemicals, such as PFAS and BPA (Bisphenol-A). Chemicals to be disclosed are those from the CA Department of Toxic Substances Control’s (DTSC) Candidate Chemical List. The disclosure must be on the product label and online.

A recent report by the Ecology Center found that the majority of pans tested, and one fifth of the bakeware tested, were coated with PTFE, a form of PFAS commonly known by the brand Teflon™. When PTFE-coated pans are heated, especially above 400-500ºF, they can release hazardous chemicals, contaminating the air we breathe. In addition to consumer exposures, toxic and persistent chemicals like PFAS in cook and bakeware can expose workers, nearby communities and the environment during the manufacturing stage. PFAS in cook and bakeware can also contaminate groundwater, drinking water, soil and communities suffering from environmental racism at the disposal stage, including through landfilling, recycling or incineration.

  1. Prohibits misleading advertising on cookware packaging about unsafe chemicals in cookware. For example, claims that a product is free of a specific hazardous chemical when other chemicals from the same class are present.

Some marketing claims on cookware labels are misleading buyers into believing the product is free of hazardous chemicals. As an example, pans claiming to be “PFOA free” often contain other harmful PFAS chemicals like PTFE.

BCPP is cosponsoring this legislation with our partners the Center for Environmental Health, Clean Water Action, Environmental Working Group and Natural Resources Defense Council.

Fact Sheets

Learn about the health hazards lurking in cookware and bakeware.

PFAS in Food Packaging March 2021

Toxic Chemicals of Concern in Cookware March 2021

Supporters

As of August 26, 2021

Companies/ Industry Associations

  1. Compost Manufacturing Alliance
  2. Integrated Resource Management LLC
  3. Marin Sanitary Services
  4. Northern California Recycling Association
  5. Repurpose*
  6. Klean Kanteen

Public Agency Associations

  1. California Association of Sanitation Agencies
  2. Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts*
  3. Association of California Water Agencies*

NGOs

  1. Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics, California
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists CA District IX*
  4. Ban Single Use Plastics
  5. Black Women For Wellness Action Project
  6. Breast Cancer Action
  7. Breast Cancer Over Time
  8. Breathe Southern California
  9. California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
  10. California Health Coalition Advocacy
  11. California Product Stewardship Council
  12. Californians Against Waste
  13. CalPIRG
  14. Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice CCAEJ
  15. Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE)
  16. Center for Public Environmental Oversight
  17. Clean Production Action
  18. Coalition for Clean Air
  19. Community Water Center
  20. Consumer Federation of California
  21. Consumer Reports*
  22. Courage California
  23. Defend Our Health
  24. Educate. Advocate.
  25. Emphysema Foundation of America
  26. Erin Brockovich Foundation
  27. Families Advocating for Chemical & Toxics Safety (FACTS)
  28. Five Gyres Institute
  29. Friends Committee on Legislation of California
  30. Friends of the Earth
  31. Heal the Bay
  32. Just Transition Alliance
  33. Keep A Breast Foundation
  34. MADE SAFE / Nontoxic Certified
  35. Michael J Fox Foundation
  36. National Stewardship Action Council
  37. Pacoima Beautiful
  38. Plastic Oceans International
  39. Plastic Pollution Coalition
  40. ReThink Disposable
  41. Safer States
  42. San Francisco Baykeeper
  43. San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility
  44. Save Our Shores
  45. Science and Environmental Health Network
  46. Seventh Generation Advisors
  47. Sierra Club California
  48. UPSTREAM
  49. Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation
  50. Women’s Voices for the Earth
  51. Woodland Coalition for Green Schools
  52. Worksafe
  53. Zero Waste USA

*Sent solo letters of support 

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