Amongst the hottest topics in recent plastic-focused legislative moves is the increasing adoption of PFAS bans. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are an umbrella of man-made chemicals that feature extremely persistent chemical compounds. PFAS chemicals have been used in a variety of consumer and industrial products over the years due to their longevity and other beneficial properties, but recent research has shown that these benefits present a double-sided sword that can create unintended negative consequences for the environment when improperly disposed of, and potential health concerns when consumed.
As a result, an increasing number of PFAS materials are banned in the United States and globally in common applications such as foam products and cookware coatings.
Recent legislative moves in a handful of US states have called for the additional banning of PFAS chemicals, this time broadening the ban to include food contact applications. As it relates to plastic food packaging, in some states these bans take place starting as early as mid-2023, while others have announced similar plans in the near future. The PFAS bans are also being discussed at the federal level, as there is already a drafted bill in Congress.
The Complete Elimination of PFAS Substances is Already Underway
When it comes to blown film manufacturing, process aids that include fluoropolymers (which fall under the broad definition of PFAS) are used throughout the industry to improve processing capabilities.
While much is still unknown regarding guidelines and exactly what is considered acceptable in food-contact films, IEF is working to completely eliminate the use of all substances that could potentially be interpreted under the broad PFAS umbrella.
Working directly with our customers and resin suppliers, IEF’s technical team is developing blends that eliminate the use of any fluoropolymer process aids without disrupting our customer’s current operations. Several PFAS-free versions of existing standard product blends have already been developed or are in the commercialization stage, and an extensive number of projects are currently underway to bring PFAS-free blends to the market across our entire standard product offering.
Wherever possible, IEF’s future product developments, food and non-food contact alike, will be developed without the use of any materials that can potentially be interpreted as PFAS.
As an industry leader in North American blown film manufacturing, Inteplast Engineered Films is committed to providing solutions for our customers that prioritize sustainability and performance. For any questions regarding PFAS-free films, please reach out to your local IEF technical expert.