Straws, Nonstick Chemicals to Be Phased Out in San Francisco

By: - July 26, 2018 12:00 am

San Francisco is close to joining a dozen other cities that ban plastic straws. The measure headed to the mayor also would ban food containers coated in a Teflon-like substance. Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to ban plastic drinking straws and food containers coated with nonstick chemicals.

The measure, which Mayor London Breed was expected to sign, would prohibit bars and restaurants from providing plastic straws, stirrers or toothpicks beginning in July 2019. Customers would have to request other single-use items such as napkins or condiment packages.

A plastic-straw ban took effect in Seattle earlier this month, and several states have considered banning them statewide. Miami Beach, Oakland and more than a dozen other cities, about half of them in California, have also banned plastic straws or required customers who want a straw to ask for it. New York City is also considering a ban.

The San Francisco measure also would prohibit single-use food containers coated with fluorinated chemicals that resist grease and liquid, beginning in January 2020. The chemicals, similar to those used in Teflon cookware and Gore-Tex rain jackets, have come under increasing scrutiny as a growing number of towns have detected them in drinking water.

There is growing pressure to halt the use of nonstick chemicals in food packaging after a study found them in 97 percent of human blood samples tested. Several states this year considered bills that would ban takeout containers coated with the chemicals, or require restaurants and other businesses to disclose when packaging contains them.

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Rebecca Beitsch

Rebecca Beitsch writes about energy and the environment for Stateline. She covered state government in Missouri and North Dakota, writing about politics and policy for NewsRadio KMOX, the Columbia Missourian and the Bismarck Tribune.