Policy Update

Landmark Legislation: Washington’s Healthy Food Packaging Act

Region

Northwest

NCEL Point of Contact

Mara Herman
Environmental Health Manager

Contact
Washington’s Ban on PFAS in Food Packaging is First in the Nation

In March 2018, Washington state passed HB 2658 which bans the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – commonly known as PFAS chemicals – in food packaging, contingent on the availability of viable alternatives. PFAS chemicals are often used in food packaging for their waterproof and non-stick properties. But despite these benefits, they are persistent, toxic chemicals that can hinder children’s brain development, interfere with hormones, and cause cancer, among other negative impacts.

Given these health risks, Representative Joan McBride introduced HB 2658, the Healthy Food Packaging Act, making Washington the first state in the nation to do so. The bill gives the Department of Ecology two years to perform an assessment on viable alternatives and relay its findings. Upon identifying safer alternatives for food packaging, Washington will set a national precedent for safeguarding public health.

HB 2658 is the most recent addition to www.envirolaws.org, an online database created by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and NCEL.