Unpopped bag of microwave popcorn

We Need Safe Food Packaging

02.06.2019

Do you think families deserve food that doesn’t come wrapped in harmful chemicals? The fact is, toxic chemicals are entering our food supply through processing and packaging. And they pose significant health risks, particularly to pregnant women and children.

In an effort to overcome federal government inaction, the Strategy Center is urging national retailers to make changes in the marketplace, and calling on our home state of Maine to pass legislation that gets two classes of toxic chemicals, phthalates (“THAL-eights”) and PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), out of food packaging.

PFAS is found in packaging such as bakery bags, microwave popcorn bags, and fast food wrappers. Phthalates enter our food supply in part through inks and adhesives as well as from food-handling gloves.

Both phthalates and PFAS have been linked to interfering with normal brain development in children.

PFAS also increases the risk of some cancers, may lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant, and have been associated with liver problems and increased cholesterol levels. PFAS chemicals don’t break down. They persist in our bodies and our environment for years and even decades. They are so ubiquitous that over 97 percent of Americans have PFAS in their bloodstream—including newborn babies.

Phthalates are endocrine disruptors that change the way hormones work. Pregnant women, babies and toddlers are most at risk, and boys may suffer an increased risk of birth defects associated with testicular cancer, prostate cancer, or difficulty in fathering a child.

Safe Packaging is Better for the Environment, Too

Passing legislation not only will ensure food on our shelves is in safer packaging, it also will better protect our environment, because toxic chemicals can enter the environment and drinking water supply when packaging is composted or landfilled. Nationally, PFAS contamination of drinking water is a growing concern.

We Take Pride in Our Food!

Mainers take pride in our locally grown, organic food and a delicious “restaurant scene” that’s become nationally recognized. No one wants food packaging to add harmful, toxic chemicals to what we eat. 

Alternative packaging is available, and the market is already changing. Major food manufacturers are taking voluntary steps to stop using these chemicals. 

Passing legislation will ensure food on our shelves is in safer packaging, holding all manufacturers to the same standard.

Pass the Safe Food Packaging Act

Sponsored by Representative Jessica Fay (Raymond) the Safe Food Packaging Act will phase-out harmful chemicals from our food packaging. 

This legislation would update current Maine law by requiring manufacturers to phase-out PFAS and phthalates by 2022. It would also authorize the Department of Environmental Protection to name other priority chemicals in food packaging and require disclosure, alternatives assessment, or phase-out through administrative rule making. 

The Safe Food Packaging Act is one of nine bills before the current Maine Legislature that is a priority for Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition, a partnership of 34 environmental, conservation and public health organizations representing over 100,000 members. 

For our children, for our farmers, for all of us, let’s do what it takes to get toxic chemicals out of food packaging.

Get Involved!

If you aren’t already, signup for our newsletter so we can let you know when to contact your representatives in Augusta to support the Safe Food Packaging Act, or contact our organizer, scahueque [at] preventharm.org (subject: I%20want%20to%20help%20pass%20the%20Safe%20Food%20Packaging%20Act) (Sergio Cahueque) to learn how else you can support it.

Then, if you haven't already, join our national campaign to get toxic chemical phthalates out of food.