PFAS in Paper and Board for Food Contact

Options for Risk Management of Poly- and Perfluorinated Substances

image of PFAS in Paper and Board for Food Contact

Poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are used in paper and board food contact materials (FCMs) and they have been found to be highly persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic. The purpose of the Nordic workshop and of this report is to:* create an overview of the use of PFAS in FCMs of paper and board and of the toxicity and migration into food of the various substances* provide an overview of whether appropriate risk assessments for fluorinated substances exist as a basis for specific regulations or recommendations* provide an overview of whether analytical methods suitable for analysing and regulating the substances are available* discuss the possibility and structure of national regulations or Nordic recommendations for PFAS in FCMs of paper and board. Risk management to reduce the total content of organically bound fluorine in paper and board FCMs is supported.




Poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) do not occur naturally, but have been used since the first discovery of Teflon in 1938. There was little focus on this group of organohalogens, until widespread environmental occurrence of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was discovered about 20 years ago in biota and humans (Key 1997, Kärrman et al. 2006, Houde et al. 2006, So 2006, Lau et al. 2007, Calafat et al. 2007, Haug et al. 2009, Olsen et al. 2009, Kato et al. 2011). Prior to this, organofluorine compounds had been discovered in 1966 in the blood of production workers (Taves 1966, 1968). PFOS and PFOA, which belong to the group of perfluoro alkyl acids (PFAAs) have been found to be toxic, as have other PFAAs and precursors thereof, such as the fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) and polyfluoro alkyl phosphate esters (PAPs) (Rosenmai et al. 2013). Because of their widespread occurrence, toxicity, bioaccumulation potential and extreme persistency, PFAAs and their precursors are increasingly being regulated by international regulations, such as the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), (UNEP 2010), and the European chemicals legislation REACH (REACH 2006), and are included on the SIN list (Chem Sec 2017). In December 2016, the EU decided to restrict all use and import of PFOA (25 µg/kg) and its precursors (1000 µg/kg) in products and articles in the EU. The restriction will enter into force on 4 July 2020.


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