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Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances in Paper and Paperboard Food Packaging

Portrait of Virginia Weber, graduate student speaker
Virginia Weber
Graduate Student, Department of Chemistry
University of Georgia
iSTEM-1 Building, Room 1023
Materials Chemistry and Nanoscience Seminar

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals commonly used in food contact paper and paperboard due to their unique ability to provide both moisture and oil/grease resistance. However, recently it is becoming evident that they resist degradation, contaminate water supplies, and are becoming environmental persistent.1 Some studies have shown long and short chain PFAS bioaccumulate in tissues and are linked to multiple health risks.2 Because of this, much work has been done to bring awareness to the public and design alternative paper coatings based on sustainable replacements. In this seminar, a brief history and the unique materials properties of PFAS will be explored.3 Additionally, the presentation will cover the various applications of PFAS and why it is the leading performer for oil/grease resistance coating.1 Case studies highlighting large concentrations of PFAS usage in the food packaging industry will be presented.4,5 Finally, an emphasis on bio-based and biodegradable alternatives that also provide sufficient moisture and oil/grease resistance will be covered.


  1. Glenn, G.; Shogren, R.; Jin, X.; Orts, W.; Hart‐Cooper, W.; Olson, L., Per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances and their alternatives in paper food packaging. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety 2021, 20 (3), 2596-2625.
  2. Daly, E. R.; Chan, B. P.; Talbot, E. A.; Nassif, J.; Bean, C.; Cavallo, S. J.; Metcalf, E.; Simone, K.; Woolf, A. D., Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) Exposure Assessment in a Community Exposed to Contaminated Drinking Water, New Hampshire, 2015. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2018221 (3), 569–577.
  3. Gagliano, E.; Sgroi, M.; Falciglia, P. P.; Vagliasindi, F. G. A.; Roccaro, P., Removal of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from water by adsorption: Role of PFAS chain length, effect of organic matter and challenges in adsorbent regeneration. Water Research 2020, 171, 115381.
  4. Schaider, L. A.; Balan, S. A.; Blum, A.; Andrews, D. Q.; Strynar, M. J.; Dickinson, M. E.; Lunderberg, D. M.; Lang, J. R.; Peaslee, G. F., Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging. Environmental Science & Technology Letters 2017, 4 (3), 105-111.
  5. Zabaleta, I.; Blanco-Zubiaguirre, L.; Baharli, E. N.; Olivares, M.; Prieto, A.; Zuloaga, O.; Elizalde, M. P., Occurrence of per- and polyfluorinated compounds in paper and board packaging materials and migration to food simulants and foodstuffs. Food Chemistry 2020, 321, 126746.

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