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Health Groups Sue FDA Over Chemical in Food Packaging

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Food Safety have sued the Food and Drug Administration to force it to act on a petition to ban perchlorate in food packaging. These groups filed the petition December 2014 in conjunction with other health and consumer associations but the FDA missed a June 2015 deadline to respond.

NRDC and CFS contend that perchlorate impairs hormone production critical to brain development and poses a health threat to humans, particularly to foetuses, infants and children. The FDA has approved this substance for certain specific uses despite concerns by these and other groups. Specifically, up to 1.2 percent of sodium perchlorate monohydrate may be used in dry food packaging, perchlorate may be used as a conductivity enhancer in the manufacture of antistatic agents to be used in food contact articles, and potassium perchlorate is an allowed additive in sealing gaskets for food containers.

CFS Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell believes there is no reason that a chemical that is primarily used in rocket fuel should be allowed by the FDA to be in or on food products. Environmental Working Group Co-founder and President Ken Cook added that “banning perchlorate should be a no-brainer when you consider its threat to human health, particularly to fetal development.” Mr. Cook hopes the lawsuit “spurs FDA to give a new look at the science, instead of relying on its original, flawed reasoning, and to move swiftly to protect consumers from exposure to this toxic chemical.”

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