What are PFAS?
PFAS (Perfluorinated and Polyfluorinated Substances) belong to a group of over 9,000 human-made chemicals that includes Teflon. These chemicals are sometimes referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ because they contain carbon-fluorine bonds -- one of the strongest chemical bonds in existence -- that never break down in the environment.
These chemicals are therefore steadily accumulating in the environment -- as well as in living creatures -- and are linked to a wide variety of adverse health effects. These include: An increased risk of prostate, testicular, and kidney cancer; weakened immune system and lower response to vaccines; as well as pregnancy complications and developmental defects.
In order to make them water or grease resistant, some disposable packaging products -- especially certain fibre-based products and greaseproof papers -- have historically contained added PFAS.
How can I avoid packaging products that contain PFAS?
The vast majority of products on Compostable.ca contain no added PFAS, as the chemical is generally only used in certain fibre-based packaging and greaseproof papers. With all other types of compostable products, PFAS should not be an issue. If you would like help selecting products that are not made using PFAS, please get in touch with us.
We are actively working with our manufacturers to confirm which of their products may contain added PFAS, and we are restricting the sale of these items on our site if they are confirmed or strongly suspected of containing added PFAS.
Replacement products with no added PFAS are slowly emerging on the market, and we are adding them to our store as soon as each one appears. PFAS-free alternatives to fibre and greaseproof paper products that often contain added PFAS can be found here.
Again, it is important to note that most compostable products do not contain PFAS, only certain products that are made from fibre, as well as some grease-proof papers. With all other types of compostable products, PFAS should not be an issue. For more information please get in touch!
Are products containing PFAS considered compostable?
Because PFAS cannot break down into carbon and water, but instead accumulate and have toxic effects on the microbes that are essential to the compost process, on the health of humans and throughout the ecosystem, PFAS should not be considered compostable.
Due to this, the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) will not certify as compostable any product that contains added PFAS.
At Compostable.ca, we prefer that products offered for sale on our store be certified, so we are doing everything we can to add as many products possible that are certified compostable by the BPI or the BNQ (Bureau de normalisation du Québec).
In the meantime, we are restricting the sale of products that are confirmed or strongly suspected of being made using PFAS. Brand new PFAS-free alternatives to fibre and greaseproof paper products that often contain added PFAS can be found here.