FDA May Withdraw Approvals of Toxic Phthalates From Food Products

The ongoing fight against toxic chemicals includes the huge problem of harmful food additives. More than two-thirds of the 10,000 food additives allowed in food have not actually been adequately tested for safety.

In recent months, the focus on food additives has been on phthalates, because in April, the Food and Drug Administration agreed to consider withdrawing its approvals of 30 ortho-phthalates, which currently can be used in plastic packaging for our foods, or in food handling equipment—including the plastic gloves food workers wear.

These chemicals move or leach so easily from the plastics into the food they touch that the FDA actually classifies phthalates as food additives. From our food, these chemicals enter our bodies. They don't belong in anyone’s lunch, much less a vulnerable child’s.

Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system that regulates our hormones. They are linked to reproductive and developmental problems. In baby boys, phthalates can cause genital defects. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of phthalates. 

And under current FDA rules, this is perfectly legal.

However, that could change. The public has until September 19 to tell the FDA that they must stop allowing phthalates to be considered food additives. If the agency withdraws its approvals of these toxic chemicals, plastic manufacturers will be forced to redesign their products without them, and phthalates will be kept out of our food. 

Let FDA know that contamination from plastics into our food is completely unacceptable.

An earlier version of this article was originally published on Mom's Clean Air Force.


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