Three chemicals that lead to cancer and birth defects will be banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These chemicals are mostly found in the packaging of famous fast-food products like microwaveable popcorn and pizza.
The Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the United States, which is responsible for the public health of the population. The agency can make new regulations and supervisions and can also ban certain products on the market, which are considered dangerous for the health of the people.
Food contact materials are materials that will come in contact with the food. These can go from cans to cardboard boxes. When the material makes contact with the food, the molecules from the material can transfer to the food. Because this can be dangerous, in many countries regulations were made to ensure that no harm will come to the people, the United States being the latest to do so.
FDA recently released a report that contained the three FCSs (food-contact substances) that will be prohibited. The pentanoic acid, perflouroalkyl and diethanolamine salts are used in the cardboard packaging and their job is to keep the oil or water from the food inside to damage the box or the bag. The most common packages that use the oil resistant chemicals include bags for pet food, packaging for fast-food, pizza card boxes and the microwave bags for popcorn.
FDA reached this decision after numerous petitions were done by health groups like the Center for Food Safety and Children’s Environmental Health Network, the Center for Environmental Health and the Breast Cancer Fund. For the petitions, these health advocates used the results of a study done in 2010 by FDA. The study revealed that the chemicals that keep the grease from popcorn or pizza from spilling out of their boxes, were stopping a proper development of the fetus. Also, the carcinogenic properties of the chemicals were revealed.
If in the past the toxicologists from FDA said that there was no proven harm done by the chemicals, now they say that there is a certain risk associated with the FCSs. The new rule has already been implemented on January 4th, but the companies who produce or use these packaging that contain the three chemicals will be given 30 days more to adjust. According to the FDA, there are few companies that still use these chemicals for their packaging. Until February 3rd, hearings, requests or complaints can be submitted to FDA.
As the three chemicals that lead to cancer and birth defects will be banned, we can be relieved that action is taken towards a healthier population.
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