The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced its first list of food contact chemicals of high concern and a notice of enforcement discretion on the prohibition of phthalates in food packages.

SAFEGUARDS | Consumer ProductsNO. 022/22

 SG 15521 Plastic Containers

In 2019, the US state of Maine approved LD 1433 ‘Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging legislation’. The legislation contains provisions to prohibit phthalates in food packages, including disposable plastic food service gloves, directs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to prohibit per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packages by rule subject to availability of safer alternatives, authorizes the DEP to publish a list of no more than 10 food contact chemicals of high concern (FCCHCs) and directs the Commissioner of Environmental Protection (CEP) to designate an FCCHC as a priority food contact chemical (PFCC) for reporting purposes. The prohibition of phthalates in food packages became effective on January 1, 2022 (SafeGuardS 89/19). 

The DEP website has released two important announcements in relation to the state’s Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging legislation:

  • Notice of Enforcement Discretion Regarding Maine’s Prohibition on the Use of Phthalates in Food Packaging (Commissioner, December 10, 2021)
    • The DEP plans to undertake routine technical rulemaking in 2022. Due to the ongoing global pandemic and related supply chain disruptions, it will exercise its enforcement discretion on the prohibition of phthalates in food packages under 32 MRSA §1733(3-A) during the routine technical rulemaking period. This enforcement discretion will be evaluated when the relevant rule is promulgated or by July 31, 2022 (within six months from effective date of prohibition), whichever occurs sooner 
  • DEP’s listing of 10 FCCHC (December 2021)
    • After consultation on the draft list of 10 FCCHCs ended in March 2021 (SafeGuardS 24/21), the DEP has published the first 10 chemicals on its list of FCCHCs. These chemicals will be further evaluated for their designation as PFCCs for reporting purposes. When PFCCs are designated, manufacturers or distributors must report to the DEP within 180 days if their food packages available for sale contain such chemicals in an amount greater than the de minimis level

The 10 chemicals and their applications from the Maine DEP Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging legislation of December 2021 are summarized in Table 1.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection, December 2021
Toxic Chemicals in Food Packaging
Food Contact Chemicals of High Concern Criteria Documentation

Entry

Food Contact Chemical of High Concern (FCCHC, CAS)

Applications

11

Bisphenol A (BPA, CAS 80-05-7))

Food packaging plastics and epoxy resins

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 for food packaging

7

Methylenedianiline2 (CAS 101-77-9)

Manufacture of rubber, as a curing agent in resins and as a dye

8

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 adhesives

  • Curing agent in inks

  • Ultraviolet light blocking agent for packaging materials

10

Nonylphenol (NP, CAS 25154-52-3)

Stabilizer and intermediary 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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