Have you purchased any parchment paper from Costco lately? Mamavation fans asked us to test Kirkland Parchment Paper for the presence of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, i.e. PFAS chemicals, at an EPA certified lab so that is what we did. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like safest cookware, best & worst organic mattresses, & best collagens, now join us for the test results of Kirkland (Costco) Parchment Baking Paper and potential PFAS.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
PFAS “Forever Chemicals” are Persistent & Very Problematic to Public Health. You Don’t Want Them In Your Food.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that are used to provide stain resistance, grease resistance, and water resistance to different products. Sounds great until you find out how incredibly toxic to humans and the environment they also are. Some of the more problematic health impacts are below:
- reduction in immunity
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- thyroid disfunction
- reduced vaccination response
- ulcerative colitis
- low sperm count
- smaller penis size
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- interfere with the body’s natural hormones
- increase cholesterol levels
- increase the risk of cancer like testicular, prostate and breast cancers
Based on the persistence of this chemical inside the body, it’s incredibly dangerous to be exposed throughout a lifetime because it will continue to build up. Therefore, it’s important to avoid these chemicals as much as possible.
Why Are PFAS Chemicals Inside Food Packaging? It’s Considered an “Indirect Additive” So Less Oversight.
Why do we have PFAS chemicals in food packaging? It’s simple. No one likes to get grease everywhere when they are eating, so PFAS works to help keep the grease from leaking all over your hands.
But that’s not the only reason you’ll find it in food packaging. You’ll find PFAS in food packaging because of lax laws surrounding “indirect additives” in food packaging.
“Indirect additives” are chemicals inside the plastics, food packaging materials, food processors, and cookware that are used to process, transport & store food & beverages. Some indirect additives are problematic because they have the ability to get into the food we eat.
Indirect additives can leach into food when food contents are hot, if that food contains lots of fat, or if that food contains citrus acid. Because heat, fat, and acid are so common in terms of fast and fast-casual food, PFAS is a constant contaminant in restaurants.
This is such a problem that the American Academy of Pediatrics states additives in food packaging can cause delays in development and reproduction and the Feds should adjust this rule.
Over 3,000 “Indirect Additives” Approved by Feds That Can Find Their Way Into Your Food
There are over 3,000 chemicals approved by the Food & Drug Administration for use as an indirect additive in food production and packaging, but if you ask a company, they don’t have to tell you anything about them.
In fact, some of these companies don’t even know what their packaging contains because it’s produced by a 3rd party and that 3rd party may not tell them.
How do I know this?
Well, I’ve been asking companies for years what their packaging contains and some of them don’t know. While other brands just won’t tell us.
Therefore, the only way for us to really know if a brand contains PFAS in their packaging is to test and find out, which is what we did with Kirkland (Costco) Parchment Paper and results are coming, but before I tell you the results, one more bit about how to protect yourself from PFAS.
PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Are Ubiquitous, Meaning They Are Found Everywhere!
I hate to break this to you, but PFAS “forever chemicals” are quite ubiquitous and found in lots of places around your home. Mamavation has been covering PFAS for several years so we can help you find products that do not contain them.
Here are some tips for keeping PFAS out of your home:
- Swap your Non-stick cookware to these healthier brands
- Find better small kitchen appliances without PFAS coated surfaces
- Most air fryers had PFAS coatings but not these brands
- Try to find alternatives to non-stick products whenever possible (especially if you have any small pets or immune-compromised family members. Birds are especially vulnerable).
- Avoid foods with packaging. Grease-proof food packaging (pizza boxes, cake cardboard bottoms, & french fry wrappers. Click here for a list of which grocery store chains are serving PFAS-free packing)
- Avoid fast food as much as possible. (Did you know we tested In-N-Out Burger wrappers the other day?)
- Look into investing in a reverse osmosis water system for your home, especially if you live by a military base or airport.
- When purchasing furniture or carpet, avoid stain and dirt resistance treatments. (Like StainMaster)
- Even your mattress contains PFAS chemicals but these organic mattresses do not.
- Avoid buying clothing with labels indicating water, stain or dirt repellant. (Like Patagonia jackets)
- Avoid choosing personal care products with “fluoro” or “perfluoro” on the ingredient list. However, did you know that some tooth floss contains PFAS? These brands do not.
- Dust more often! PFAS chemicals stick to dust particles so the more dust you have in your home, the more likely there is PFAS in the air you breathe. Click here for our FREE eBook on how to clean your indoor air.
Results of Fluorine Testing for Kirkland (Costco) Parchment Paper
In April of 2021, an EPA-certified laboratory conducted tests of Total Fluorine by Oxygen Flask Combustion and Ion-Selective Electrode on Kirkland (Costco) Parchment Baking Paper.
To understand how this works is important. There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, so it’s not possible to test for each one individually. So instead, we test for fluorine which they all have in common. The higher the levels of fluorine, the more likely it was intentionally added. BPI Industries & Compost Manufacturing Alliance certifies that food packaging is compostable below 100 ppm, so any results below 100 ppm is a very good sign.
- Kirkland Parchment Paper: 12 ppm
Compare this level to recent labs testing other fast-food restaurants by Safer Chemicals finding that 46% of the food packaging they tested was over 100 ppm of fluorine. Examples of brands that were guilty were like Burger King, McDonalds, SweetGreen, & Freshii and you’ll see what I mean:
- Burger King Wrapper: 240 ppm
- McDonald’s cardboard clamshell: 605 ppm
- SweetGreen molded bowl: 1062 ppm
- Freshii molded bowl: 885 ppm
These were all very high levels of fluorine, so it’s safe to say that PFAS was intentionally added to food packaging at these fast food & fast-casual restaurants.
Conclusion: PFAS & Kirkland (Costco) Parchment Baking Paper
The result of 12 ppm of fluorine found in Kirkland (Costco) Parchment paper means we cannot say that PFAS was “intentionally added” and the amount of total fluorine found in the product could have been the result of accidental exposure of other things.
So in other words, we found some PFAS, but it wasn’t a large amount. However, that also means that Mamavation cannot recommend this product.
Click here to see all the other testing of products Mamavation has done.
We did not find any fluorine inside If You Care Parchment Baking Paper so that is the one we are recommending as of now.