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McDonald’s to ban use of PFAS in restaurants worldwide by 2025

McDonald’s plans to ban the use of per - and polyfluoroalkyl substances aka PFAS in their more than 38,000 restaurants across the globe by the year 2025. While the move is being applauded by public health advocates, they’re hoping for a more ambitious timeline of a total ban by 2022. Those same advocates are also urging Burger and Wendy’s to join in.

The move by McDonald’s comes after they’ve already made it company practice to cease use of BPA, BPA, and phthalates in their packaging. McDonald’s released a statement about their latest pro public health measure that read in part, “We’re proud to take another step in our product stewardship journey with our commitment to remove all added fluorinated compounds from our guest packaging materials globally by 2025.”

The PFAS ban is likely in response to a Mind the Store national campaign that revealed PFAS in the packaging for the ever-popular Big Mac sandwich. After McDonald’s announced their plans for moving on from PFAS, Mind the Store released a statement from Director Mike Schade,


“Over the last year, tens of thousands of McDonald’s customers have raised their voices calling on the company to act on this. We appreciate McDonald’s taking this important action and heeding our call. However, four years is far too long for their customers and frontline communities to continue to be polluted by these unnecessary forever chemicals. We urge McDonald’s to phase these chemicals out by 2022 and ensure substitutes are safe and reusable. Other major fast-food chains like Burger King and Wendy’s should join them in driving PFAS out of food packaging.”


PFAS is often used in packaging, carpeting, upholstery, and apparel to combat grease, stains, and to add water resistance. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control show that “PFAS exposure may affect growth, learning, and behavior for infants and older children.” While McDonald’s and other brands are being reactive, some states have chosen to be proactive. States such as Maine, New York, and Washington have new laws on the books that ban the use of PFAS by the end of 2022. It will be interesting to see which company or state takes action next. Hopefully, we don’t have to wait on another alarming study for action to be taken.

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