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Amazon is joining a string of major retailers who are becoming increasingly conscious about toxic chemicals hidden in the everyday items they sell. On Dec. 8, 2020, the world’s largest retailer announced that it is expanding its restricted substance list to include PFAS in product packaging. 

Amazon’s new restricted substance list (RSL) applies to the following products: 

  • Amazon Kitchen brand
  • Amazon Go
  • Amazon Go Grocery 
  • Amazon Fresh
  • Fresh grocery deliveries

The new list banned toxic substances and materials that lead to cancer, high cholesterol, fertility issues and other serious health conditions. The ban includes PFAS, PVC and BPA. Additionally, toxic materials like lead, mercury and arsenic were also banned. 

What is PFAS?

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made forever chemicals. Despite a partial phase-out by the United States, these chemicals continue to exist in the environment because they do not breakdown naturally. This is because the bond between carbon and fluorine atoms is extremely strong and stable. 

The chemical can be found in the following items: 

  • Food. Produce that is grown in PFAS contaminated soil or water, items that are processed in equipment that use PFAS or packaged in material containing PFAS can all be a source of introduction the chemicals into the body. 
  • Commercial household products. Fabrics that contain stain and water repellant; nonstick products such as Teflon; polishes, waxes, paints, and cleaning products.
  • Fire-fighting foams. The foams firefighters use are a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases with firefighting training.
  • Production or factory jobs. Industry jobs that involve chrome plating, electronics manufacturers and oil recovering that use PFAS.
  • Water sources. The runoff from manufacturers, landfills, wastewater treatment plants and firefighting training facilities can contaminate local ground or drinking water sources. 
  • Living organisms. PFAS can build up in fish, land animals and even humans. 

Amazon is not the first company to restrict, reduce or eliminate chemicals in its food packaging. Over the last two years, major corporations like Chipotle, Panera Bread, Albertsons, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods announced they will remove dangerous chemicals and materials from their packaging materials. 

What dangers do Perfluoroalkyl substances present?

Those who have accumulated significant PFAS levels in their bodies are at risk for the following conditions:

  • Developmental delays in fetuses during pregnancy or breastfeeding infants
  • Low birth weight
  • Accelerated puberty
  • Skeletal variations
  • Cancer (testicular and kidney)
  • Liver damage
  • Immune deficiency
  • Thyroid effects

Are there acceptable levels of PFAS? 

Generally, there is no acceptable level of PFAS chemical contamination in any groundwater. However, because the substance is already there, the EPA has issued guidance on acceptable levels.

In 2009, the EPA issued provisional guidance, health advisories and soil screenings on PFAS toxicity values. However, in 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency established a new lower, guideline for acceptable levels of PFOS or PFOA. Under the lowered guideline, PFOS and PFOA levels should be no more than 70 parts per trillion. 

While these guidelines aren’t enforceable, the DOD says it will work toward complying with the new standards. 

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Dealing with an illness or birth injury can be a difficult time in anyone’s life. However, it’s important to note that companies have a responsibility to comply with federal regulations and protect citizens from the potential harm their products can cause. If you or a loved one suspects PFAS chemical contamination in groundwater or exposure through your line of work led to your injuries, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have a team of compassionate Mass Torts attorneys dedicated to protecting your rights. 

We are currently investigating claims in all 50 states concerning adverse health effects from PFOA and PFOS contaminated water near military installations. 

The Carlson Law Firm offers free consultations and works on contingency. In other words, you don’t pay unless we successfully resolve your case. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to discuss your legal options.

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