Tell the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that Toxic Phthalates Don't Belong in Food
Here’s an unappetizing fact: that barbecued chicken or bowl of ice cream you’re eating this 4th of July could be loaded with toxic chemicals called phthalates.
Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) are a class of hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to severe genital birth defects in baby boys and other reproductive health problems. They’re also linked to learning disabilities, asthma and allergies.
Phthalates are showing up in food all the time - especially in foods high in fat, including dairy, meats, and oils. In fact, food is the number one source of childhood exposure to phthalates, and a recent study shows that eating fast food can increase levels of phthalates in our bodies by 40%!
Why are phthalates in food? Phthalates are added to many of the materials that come into contact with our food, from the plastic gloves that food workers wear, to plastic equipment used in the processing of food, and finally, the packaging our food is sold in. Phthalates easily leach out from these materials into our food, ending up in all of our bodies.
Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence showing harmful health effects, the FDA still allows the use of 30 different toxic phthalates for use as “food additives,” meaning that they can be used in food handling equipment and packaging. Recently, several organizations submitted a petition to the FDA asking it to stop allowing these phthalates to be used as food additives. If successful, the petition could lead to a new rule making it illegal to sell phthalate-contaminated food, which would be a big victory for our health and environment.
Members of the public only have until mid-July to submit public comments in favor of this petition. Click here to write a comment now, and we’ll deliver it to the FDA for you before the upcoming deadline!