PFAS Banned in New York—What Are the Alternatives?


Restaurant customers want food containers to be safe and free of harmful plastics, and governments are now leading the way by banning the worst plastic offenders.
You may have heard of BPA…but have you heard of PFAS?

What Are PFAS?

PFAS are harmful chemicals found in plastics and some other synthetic materials. PFAS stands for “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.” PFAS pose a significant threat to human health and the greater environment. PFAS are not natural, but a class of human-made highly fluorinated chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s in various commercial products, including food packaging.

These chemicals have been used in commonly used consumer products such as nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, fabric protectors, and waterproof clothing. They have also been used in some food packaging materials to provide grease and water resistance.

Food packaging materials containing PFAS include takeout containers, pizza boxes, and fast-food wrappers. These materials can release PFAS into food, leading to potentially harmful human exposure.

What’s the Problem with PFAS?

In short, PFAS are bad news. Recent studies have found that PFAS are highly persistent—meaning, they don’t degrade easily—and can accumulate in humans’ and animals’ bodies, leading to various health issues. According to recent studies, the most commonly used PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have been linked to various negative health effects. PFAS exposure can cause developmental delays, liver damage, thyroid disease, immune system dysfunction, and increased risk of certain cancers. PFAS can also contaminate food and drinking water.

Additionally, when PFAS in food packaging materials contaminate soil and water bodies, they lead to lasting environmental damage.

What Is the Reasoning Behind New York’s PFAS Ban?

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) banned PFAS in food packaging materials due to their potential negative impact on human health and the environment. As mentioned above, PFAS are considered a persistent environmental contaminant, meaning they remain in the environment for a long time and build up in plants, animals, and humans. There is no easy way to clean this mess up.

To address this significant health, environmental, and public safety concern, New York has banned PFAS in food packaging materials. Effective December 31, 2022, the state prohibits food service establishments, manufacturers, and stores from selling, distributing, or possessing food packaging that contains PFAS.

By banning the use of PFAS in food packaging materials, the state aims to protect public health and reduce environmental contamination.

Are There Recommended Alternatives to PFAS?

Yes, there are several recommended alternatives to PFAS-containing food packaging materials. Some alternatives are plant-based or biodegradable food packaging, which is made from materials derived from plant fibers, such as corn, sugar cane, or bamboo.

These biodegradable food packaging materials are safe for human health and provide excellent grease and moisture resistance. In addition, they are easily biodegradable and can decompose quickly, reducing the overall environmental impact.

Other alternatives to PFAS-containing food packaging materials include polypropylene and talc. These materials have been found to be safe for human health and the environment and provide excellent food protection and durability.

Looking for Non-PFAS Food Containers? Sunshine Supply Can Help

Sunshine Supply is an exemplary supplier of food packaging materials that do not contain PFAS. We use alternatives such as polypropylene and talc to manufacture our PFAS-free and BPA-free food packaging materials. These non-PFAS materials have been extensively evaluated and found to be safe for human health and the environment.

How do these materials help protect food?

  • Polypropylene is a type of plastic that is known for its strength and durability. It is also heat-resistant, making it ideal for use in microwave ovens.
  • Talc is a mineral that is commonly used in food packaging materials to provide additional stiffness and reduce fat migration.

Sunshine’s non-PFAS food packaging materials are safe and environmentally friendly, making them a suitable alternative to PFAS-containing food packaging materials.

Dedicated to our customers’ success, Sunshine Supply is committed to providing exceptional customer service. Our team of experts is always available to answer any questions you may have regarding PFAS-free food containers. We understand that choosing the right restaurant product can be challenging, which is why we take the time to guide you through the selection process to ensure you make an informed decision for your business.

Contact us today to learn more about our PFAS-free food containers and other sustainable restaurant products.