SAN FRANCISCO—Last year, San Francisco was the first city to limit the use of PFAS in single-use food service ware. Mayor Edwin Lee passed the Plastic, Toxins and Litter Reduction Ordinance in August 2018.
The limitation of PFAS, per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, stemmed from studies that proved the harm of the chemical to the human body. PFAS is normally found in the fast food packaging such as wrappers, bags, and utensils.
The Standard Global Services said “the chemicals repel water and grease and are commonly used in or on single-use service ware products.”
A 2018 study from the Center for Environmental Health, showed that 57 percent of tested food service ware had high levels of fluorinated chemicals.
According to a National Geographic article, PFAS can linger in the human body for years. Effects of consumption are linked to health problems such as weight gain, cancer and thyroid disorders.
The city started making minor changes this year, where food and beverage vendors, event producers and retailers were banned to give out single-use plastic straws. They were permitted to give out single-use paper straws upon request.
Beyond straws, beverage accessories such as; lids, sleeves, stirrers and more were not to be included in a dine-in or take-out order. These items must be requested by the customer or available in a self-service area.
The ordinance is not expected to go into full effect until 2020.