What are PFAS?

“PFAS” is short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Chemicals in this class of more than 5,000 substances are found in products like nonstick pans (e.g. “Teflon”), food packaging, waterproof jackets, and carpets to repel water, grease, and stains. ​​PFAS are hydrocarbon molecules with fluorine in place of most or all of the hydrogen atoms normally found on the hydrocarbon backbone.

The chemical composition of PFAS is created by fusing carbon and fluorine atoms, which makes the compounds virtually unbreakable. Because they are not easily broken down, they are often called “forever chemicals” and can accumulate in our bodies and the environment when ingested or otherwise internalized. Their indestructible nature also means they can contaminate anything they touch. 

Why are PFAS bad?

Mounting research PFAS to a wide range of health problems. The widespread use of synthetic compounds and build-up in human tissue could lead to potentially harmful long-term effects that are still not fully understood, though a whole bed of toxicological and epidemiological research around existing and older PFAS already indicates that exposure to these substances “constitute a more-than-plausible risk of harm,” says FIGO. The accumulation of certain PFAS has also been shown through blood tests in humans and animals. 

Source: The Green Queen

Where can PFAS be found?

Drinking water is one of the most common routes of exposure. But PFAS can also accumulate in the human body through types of food packaging. When these multipurpose compounds are used in food packaging, they have a way of transferring into the food itself. 

PFAS in packaging

Some moulded fibre bowls, cups and plates meant for food service are coated in a layer of PFAS-containing film. Paper products used for food packaging are often treated with PFAS for water and grease resistance.  Research into PFAS has revealed that these chemicals are present in coated cardboard food containers and grease-resistant paper wraps.

Why Sustainabl.’s products are PFAS-free?

  1. Uncoated Products: An alternate mechanical process can make paper, bagasse, bamboo and paperboard by compressing the fibres to achieve water and grease resistance, therefore does not need any coating or lining. Our core range of bagasse is poured into moulds and baked to produce our products which are uncoated, which as a result are PFA-free.
  2. Products with Biopolymers Linings: Our greaseproof paper, soup bowls and coffee cups achieve water and grease barriers through the use of a nanocoating technology made of compostable biopolymers, which do not contain fluorinated chemicals. 

FDA:https://www.fda.gov/food/chemical-contaminants-food/and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas, https://www.fda.gov/food/chemical-contaminants-food/authorized-uses-pfas-food-contact-applications
EWG: https://www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/pfas_contamination/
Earth Justice: https://earthjustice.org/features/breaking-down-toxic-pfas
Green Queen: https://www.greenqueen.com.hk/forever-chemical-experts-womens-health-groups-call-for-global-phase-out-of-pfas/
BPI world: https://bpiworld.org/Certifier-Addresses-Claims-of-Toxic-Chemicals-In-Compostable-Products
Take Out Toxins Full Report: https://48h57c2l31ua3c3fmq1ne58b-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Take-Out-Toxics-Full-Report.pdf
FIGO: https://www.figo.org/figo-calls-removal-pfas-global-use 
Waterra: https://www.waterra.com.au/publications/document-search/?download=1484