9 Groups Petition FDA to Get Perchlorate and Perfluorocarboxylates Out of Your Pizza Boxes


Two types of chemicals, perchlorate and perfluorocarboxylates, common in certain food packaging products like pizza boxes and sealing gaskets, are at the center of a petition to the Food and Drug Administration submitted by nine consumer and environmental advocacy groups.

The groups: the Natural Resources Defense Council, 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, are asking the FDA to ban perchlorate and perfluorocarboxylates from food packaging because of serious risks to human health.

According to Food Safety News, “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.”

The NRDC claims it received flawed FDA data on perchlorate through a Freedom of Information Act request. “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,” reports Food Safety News.

And, explains Food Safety News, the group noted that the EPA’s Science Advisory board “believes that infants are likely to be disproportionately impacted by perchlorate because their brains are still developing.”

The groups identified 10 studies published between 2009 and 2014 that also supported the FDA’s own research that found “significant gaps” in understanding the potential risks to human health from exposure to these chemicals.

And while U.S. based production of food packaging is generally free from perchlorate and perfluorocarboxylates, per FDA’s guidelines, these chemicals can be used in products that are manufactured in other countries, and the petition suggests these imported products pose serious threats to human health.

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Image: Marc Wathieu