The Risks of PFAS
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a class of man-made chemicals used in the production of a wide range of consumer products such as stain-resistant carpets, non-stick pans, waterproof jackets, and grease-proof food packaging. These chemicals are extremely persistent, and some can linger in our bodies for many years. Nearly all Americans carry traces of these chemicals in their bodies.
With over 4,700 PFAS chemicals on the global market, these toxic chemicals pose an enormous public health challenge. PFAS chemicals have been linked to a wide range of health effects including immune system toxicity, elevated cholesterol, delayed mammary gland development, effects on the thyroid and liver, and cancer. Scientists are concerned that exposures to chemicals that alter mammary gland development may increase the risk of breast cancer later in life.
Many of the chemicals used in food packaging can leach into food and enter people’s bodies. A 2019 study by Silent Spring Institute revealed that people who ate more meals at home had significantly lower levels of PFAS in their bodies vs. those who consumed more fast food or ate out more often. This same study also showed that people who ate more microwave popcorn had higher PFAS in their blood. Chemicals in food packaging also raise health concerns when they are disposed of in landfills as they can enter the soil and groundwater, potentially contaminating drinking water supplies.
Learn more about PFAS and ways to reduce your exposure by visiting MBCC’s PFAS Resources page here.
MBCC Campaigns to Eliminate PFAS
2021 – We’re continuing our 2020-2021 campaign to eliminate PFAS in Food Packaging in Massachusetts.
2020 – We campaigned to eliminate PFAS in Food Packaging in Massachusetts.
2019 – We campaigned to reduce the levels of PFAS in drinking water in Massachusetts.
The Time to Act is Now!
Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is calling on residents across the Commonwealth to contact their local legislators to lend their support to legislation that would ban PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and other potentially toxic chemicals from food packaging in Massachusetts.
Currently, HD.2071 and SD.1120 are two pieces of pending legislation geared towards removing harmful chemicals from food packaging in Massachusetts. We are inviting MBCC supporters, along with educators, parents/caregivers, and high school students to voice their support for these two bills so we can help eradicate the health impacts linked to exposure to these toxins.
SD.1120 – An Act relative to chemicals in food packaging
HD.2071 – An Act to ban the use of PFAS in food packaging
Washington, Maine, and most recently, New York have been successful in adopting policies banning the use of PFAS in food packaging, likely to be followed next by California which has prioritized similar policies under their Green Chemistry & Safer Consumer Products legislation. It is crucial Massachusetts joins this list as well.
In addition to Massachusetts, the following states also have policies currently up for consideration related to banning PFAS from food packaging in favor of safer alternative options: Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
For information on how to identify & contact your local MA legislators, please visit: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
From there, you will be able to find the email address and telephone number to either send a written letter or speak directly with the legislators that serve your area to voice your support for these two bills.
Be sure to mention that you are contacting their office as part of MBCC’s 2020-2021 campaign!