The petitions target perchlorate, which is added to sealing gaskets for food containers and to reduce static in dry food packaging, and a family of chemicals known as long-chain perfluorocarboxylates (PFCs) that keep grease out of paper and paperboard, such as pizza boxes and sandwich wrappers.
These chemicals have the potential to harm fetal development, male reproductive systems, pre- and post-natal brain development and cause cancer, stated the petition signatories. They are the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Clean Water Action, Environmental Working Group, and Improving Kids’ Environment.
The perchlorate petition stemmed, in part, from data NRDC received from a Freedom of Information Act request for scientific assessments FDA used to grant approval for the chemical’s use in 2005. The groups argue that the agency’s data were flawed.
The petitioners cited an FDA study from 2008 which found that 59 percent of more than 1,000 food samples had detectable levels of perchlorate and that children younger than six had the greatest average exposure.
They also emphasized that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board believes that infants are likely to be disproportionately impacted by perchlorate because their brains are still developing.
FDA had previously asked three companies to stop using certain PFCs in their food packaging. The companies agreed, but the chemicals can still be used in products made overseas and shipped back to the U.S.
In the petition, the groups said they found at least 10 animal studies published between 2009 and 2014 that supported FDA’s toxicology conclusions that there are “significant gaps” in our knowledge about the safety of PFCs.© Food Safety News