The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has joined the Center for Science in the Public Interest and other consumer groups in petitioning the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove several chemicals from food contact materials. The first food additive petition asks FDA to promulgate a new rule “prohibiting the use of perchlorate as a conductivity enhancer in the manufacture of antistatic agents to be used in food contact articles,” and to amend existing regulations to ban the use of potassium perchlorate in food-container sealing gaskets. Citing “the well-recognized toxicity of perchlorate,” the petition alleges that dietary exposure can impair fetal and infant development, especially when pregnant or nursing women do not consume enough iodine.

A second petition urges the agency to revoke approval for “the use of long-chain perfluorocarboxylate [PFC] oil and grease repellents in paper and paperboard.” Noting that FDA has already asked some domestic manufacturers to stop using these chemicals in their food contact substances, the petition points to new studies that allegedly support this decision and raise questions about the effects of PFCs on pre- and post-natal development and reproductive health.

“We already know that perchlorate is both toxic and widespread in food and the bodies of virtually all Americans, so adding more to packaging that can get into food is especially risky. FDA should ban this chemical immediately from food uses to protect pre-natal and young children from potentially permanent brain damage,” said NRDC Senior Strategic Director for Health and Food Erik Olson, adding that, “FDA should swiftly ensure that these risky PFCs, which it has already asked domestic producers to stop using, aren’t sneaking into our food supply through pizza boxes or sandwich wrappers made overseas.” See NRDC Press Release, October 16, 2014.