The California Assembly has approved a bill that would limit the amount of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) a chemical that has been linked to cancer in food packaging.
Senator Ellen Corbett (D) introduced the legislation, and according to the Mercury News, the bill would allow no more than 10 parts per billion of PFOA in food packaging. This would make California the first state to essentially ban the use of the compound in food containers, said a Corbett spokeswoman in the article.
According to a press release, the bill directs manufacturers to use alternatives that are not known or likely carcinogens by January 2010.
PFOA is a synthetic chemical with various uses, and is most commonly found in nonstick surfaces, such as Teflon pans and packaging for microwavable foods like popcorn and pizza, as well as fast food packaging.
The chemical persists in the environment and appears to remain in the human body for a long time. David Lazarus wrote in the L.A. Times that studies show PFOA is present in 98 percent of Americans' blood and 100 percent of newborns.
In 2006, the EPA invited companies to voluntarily commit to phasing out the use of the chemical by 2015.
The Assembly first rejected the bill last week, but then reconsidered after Corbett made a minor adjustment. The Mercury News says the bill will now return to the Senate for a vote on Assembly amendments.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.