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PFAS Regulations Tighten:Where Can We Find Solutions

Time : 2023-04-17 Hits : 22

In the field of food packaging, take pulp molding tableware product as an example. Due to their contact with oily, fatty, or watery foods, a barrier layer that prevents leakage is required.To endow paper substrates with waterproof, oil-resistant, and grease-resistant properties, it is necessary to add waterproof and oil-resistant agents, which usually consist of PFAS.

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Brief introduction of PFAS and its harm

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of man-made chemicals that are widely used in various industries due to their unique properties, such as their ability to repel water, oil, and stains.

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However, PFAS have been linked to various health and environmental risks. They are known as "forever chemicals" because they do not break down easily in the environment and can accumulate in the body over time. Studies have shown that exposure to PFAS can lead to an increased risk of cancer, liver damage, and developmental problems in children. Additionally, PFAS have been found in drinking water sources, leading to concerns about their impact on public health.

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Given the hazards of PFAS to human and environment, global regulations on PFAS are becoming increasingly strict, and law enforcement agencies are also intensifying their enforcement efforts on such substances. More and more perfluoroalkyl substances are being included or are soon to be included in regulatory controls.

How to avoid PFAS in the field of food packaging?

A research team led by Gregory Glenn of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published an article on PFAS alternatives in food paper packaging in the Comprehensive Review of Food Science and Food Safety. This article discusses the availability, applicability, and limitations of current PFAS alternatives. At present, the common alternative strategies are as follows:

 

1. Wax coating or laminating paper with traditional polymer films (PE, EVOH, PET) to ensure water and oil resistance of paper packaging. The main disadvantage of these products is that they are neither compostable nor recyclable, and are derived from non-renewable limited resources.

 

2. Based on the shortcomings of traditional polymers, more and more studies have turned their attention to biodegradable polymer laminates (PLA, PBAT, PBS, PHA). The main shortcomings of biodegradable polymers are high cost, and their physical properties such as elasticity are also different from those of traditional plastics.

 

3. In addition to laminating materials, coatings made of starch, alginate and chitosan are also new alternative materials currently under study. These materials can provide sufficient oil resistance, but because they contain a large number of hydrophilic hydroxyl groups, their water resistance is poor.

 

4. Protein coating. At present, researchers have considered using several animal and plant-based proteins as paper coatings. In general, proteins have excellent lipid and oxygen barrier properties, but have poor water vapor barrier properties due to their hydrophilicity.

There are already some alternatives to PFAS on the market, but where are the cost-effective, easy to produce, fully biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternatives?

Technology Breakdown — —Fluorine free oil resistant agent 

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Chem-plusfluorine-free oil repellent productscan stably meet the oil repellent requirements from low temperature to high temperature. Its technology is world-leading, and it has established long-term cooperative relationships with domestic and foreign leading enterprises in the industry.

 

The product has the advantages of adding in pulp, zero equipment investment; high retention, low foam, no scaling; zero fluorine; meeting food contact requirements in North America, Europe and China; not affecting the degradable compostability of pulp molded products.

 

It can help enterprises improve production efficiency and achieve energy saving and consumption reduction, and help enterprises achieve sustainable development transformation.