Groups Seek Ban of Food Container Chemicals

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Consumer groups requested the Food and Drug Administration ban certain oil and water repellents on food wrappings, and certain additives in food containers.
     The requests were made by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety, the Breast Cancer Fund, the Center for Environmental Health, Clean Water Action, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Children’s Environmental Health Network, Environmental Working Group, and Improving Kids’ Environment.
     The petition to ban the water and oil repellents asks the FDA to amend a food additive regulation to no longer provide for the use of three perfluoroalkyl ethyl containing substances as oil and water repellants for paper and paperboard for use in contact with aqueous and fatty foods.
     If the FDA determines that new data are available regarding the toxicity of these substances that justify amending the regulation the FDA will amend it, according to the announcement.
     The petition to ban certain additives in food containers asks the FDA amend a food additive regulation so it no longer provides for the use of potassium perchlorate as an additive in gaskets for sealing food containers; revoke the exemption that allows the use of sodium perchlorate monohydrate as a conductivity enhancer in antistatic agents for use in finished articles that contact dry foods; and issue a new regulation to prohibit the use of perchlorate in antistatic agents for use in food-contact articles.
     Scientific research indicates perchlorates can disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones needed for normal growth and development, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, which also calls the chemical a “contaminant.”
      The petition states that new perchlorate toxicity data are now available which support the requested amendment, and new toxicity and exposure data on perchlorates are now available which support the requested revocation of exemption and issuance of a new regulation.
     If the FDA determines that new data are available regarding the toxicity of potassium perchlorate that justify amending the food additive regulation, the FDA will amend it, the agency said.
     If, under required procedures, the FDA tentatively concludes that available information on the dietary concentration or safety of sodium perchlorate monohydrate no longer supports an exemption from the food additive regulations, the FDA will notify those who requested the exemption and allow them to show why the exemption should not be revoked. If after following further procedures the FDA decides to revoke the exemption, the agency will publish a notice to that effect in the Federal Register, the agency said.
     “Food ingredients” may be prohibited from uses in human food based on “a determination that [the food ingredients] present a potential risk to the public health or have not been shown by adequate scientific data to be safe for use in human food,” the action states (Brackets in the action). The FDA finds the petition contains reasonable grounds to that effect and therefore must publish the petition for comment.
     The FDA requests comments specifically regarding the issuance of a new regulation to prohibit the use of perchlorate in antistatic agents for use in food-contact articles. Submit either electronic or written comments by May 15, 2015.

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