But the Guardian revealed in 2021 how chemical manufacturers had hid research showing that fluorotelomers may also be highly toxic, and the new study highlights how the compounds can move from packaging into food. Researchers say the paper highlights the need to ban the use of PFAS in food packaging.
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 14,000 chemicals often used to make products resistant to water, stains and heat. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down, and they are linked to cancer, liver problems, thyroid issues, birth defects, kidney disease, decreased immunity and other serious health problems.
For decades, the chemicals have been added to paper wrappers, bags, plates, cups and other food packaging to help repel grease and water that would otherwise deteriorate the products. The chemicals are also added to some plastic food packaging as a barrier to prevent spoilage, and are especially common in the type of molded fiber bowls often marketed as “green” and “compostable”.