San Francisco will ban straws, unrequested napkins and utensils for deliveries and take away.
San Francisco will go further by eliminating single-use food containers that contain fluorinated substances, also known as PFAS. San Francisco will become the first city in the US to do this. The regulation (ordinance) will probably be accepted soon and will apply as from 2020.
PFAS including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are used on non-stick pans, microwavable bags and disposable containers and wrappers in many restaurants. These chemicals help keep grease and water from sticking to the paper but have been linked to cancer, hormonal disruption, obesity, and immune system dysfunction.
In addition, these chemicals are blocking the biodegradation of the packaging and even end up in the drinking water. PFAS levels 20 times above the federal limit have been found in the water of Michigan.
- It won’t be easy to remove these chemicals but the ban will give an incentive to the industry to come up with a better alternative.
- Let’s hope we can replace these chemicals with “biobased” chemicals.