The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has published its draft list of food contact chemicals of high concern. Comments are accepted until March 10, 2021.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer ProductsNO. 024/21

 SG 02421 Grapes in plastic

In June 2019, the U.S. state of Maine approved LD 1433 to reduce toxic chemicals in food packaging. The law contains provisions to, inter alia, prohibit phthalates in food packaging, including disposable plastic food service gloves, authorize the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to prohibit perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in food packages by rule subject to availability of safer alternatives, direct the DEP to publish a list of no more than 10 food contact chemicals of high concern (FCCHCs) and authorize the Commissioner of Environmental Protection (CEP) to designate an FCCHC as a priority food contact chemical (PFCC) for reporting purposes (SafeGuardS 89/19).

In February 2021, Maine’s DEP announced its draft FCCHC criteria documentation for public comment. This draft document lists several FCCHCs in food packaging, including four bisphenol analogues, that are to be reported as one group of chemicals and four parabens that are considered as one chemical family.

According to the draft document, the DEP may elevate an FCCHC to priority status if it meets certain criteria. When PFCCs are identified, the manufacturer or distributor of a food package containing a chemical on that list, in a concentration greater than the de minimis level, is required to disclose information to the DEP within 180 days. 

According to the definitions in the law (Chapter 26B ‘Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging’) ‘de minimis level’ has the following meaning:

  • For an FCCHC or a PFCC that is an intentionally added chemical in a food package, the practical quantification limit (PQL) or 
  • For an FCCHC or a PFCC that is a contaminant present in a food package, a concentration of 100 ppm

Comments are accepted until March 10, 2021.

Highlights of the chemicals under the draft FCCHC criteria documentation are summarized in Table 1.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging
Draft Food Contact Chemicals of High Concern Criteria Documentation, February 8, 2021
Entry Chemical (Abbreviation/CAS)
11 Bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7)) Food packaging plastics 
Bisphenol B (BPB, CAS 77-40-7)
BPA substitute for plastics and epoxy resins
Bisphenol S (BPS, CAS 80-09-1)
BPA substitute
Bisphenol F (BPF, CAS 620-92-8)
BPA substitute
2 4-Octylphenol (OP, CAS 1806-26-4)
An intermediate in manufacturing processes and common in plastics which may be used in food packaging
3 Octamethyl cyclotetrasiloxane (D4, CAS 556-67-2)
Manufacture of silicone
4 Toluene (CAS 108-88-3)
Manufacture of polymers and as a solvent in inks
5 Styrene (CAS 100-42-5)
Manufacture of plastics, including those that may be used in food packaging
6 Benzene (CAS 71-43-2)
In plastics, detergents and dyes which may be used in food packaging
7 Methylenedianiline2 (CAS 101-77-9)
Manufacture of rubber, as a curing agent in resins and as a dye 
83 Methyl paraben (CAS 99-76-3)

Antimicrobial agent in food packaging

Ethyl paraben (CAS 120-47-8)
Propyl paraben (CAS 94-13-3)
Butyl paraben (CAS 94-26-8)
9 Benzophenone (CAS 119-61-9)
  • Additive in plastics, coatings and adhesive
  • Curing agent in ink
  • Ultraviolet light blocking agent for packaging materials
10 Nonylphenol (NP, CAS 25154-52-3)
Stabilizer and intermediate in the manufacture of plastics
1Reportable as one group of substances
2Also known as 4,4'-Methylenedianiline (MDA)
3As one chemical family

Table 1

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