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PFAS found in popcorn bags in US, Indonesia

US based and Indonesia based NGOs publish report on PFAS in popcorn bags; all 29 samples tested contained at least one PFAS

In a report published on March 18, 2023, the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) together with the Indonesia based Nexus3 Foundation assessed the exposures to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) of consumers in Indonesia and the US from microwave popcorn.

The authors purchased 29 microwave popcorn samples in Indonesia and the US and analyzed the bags for PFAS content. In all 29 samples, at least one type of PFAS was detected. The testing was carried out by a third-party laboratory at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague, Czechia. The report does not disclose the exact PFAS concentrations found but gives insights into the different substances that were detected. “Half of the products contained more than one PFAS, with some containing between five to nine PFAS chemicals, increasing potential risks to consumers,” say the authors.

All the samples purchased in Indonesia were imported from the United States. IPEN asserts that “this study illustrate[s] how the lack of federal PFAS regulations in the US […] can result in spreading toxic PFAS in food products to other countries such as Indonesia. The data highlight the importance of urgent action to globally prohibit the production, sale, and use of PFAS as a class, particularly for all non-essential uses” (FPF reported also here).

According to the document, one of the four tested brands responded to IPEN, stating that they will remove PFAS from their popcorn bags by March 2023.

In February 2023 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) published a proposal to restrict all uses of all PFAS within the EU (FPF reported). The Forever Pollution Map published by Le Monde on February 23, 2023, illustrates the PFAS contaminated sites across Europe (FPF reported).


Toxic Hazards in Microwave Popcorn (pdf)