The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has followed up FoodBabe.com’s Vani Hari’s petition to subway about using azodicarbonamide (ADA)—a “chemical used to make yoga mats, shoe soles and other rubbery objects”—in its U.S. food products, by launching its own petition directed to major brands purportedly using the chemical in some 500 food products. Details about Hari’s petition appear in Issue 512 of this Update.

The EWG list of food products containing ADA, ranging from bread, croutons and pre-made sandwiches and snacks to pastries, rolls, perogies, and bagels, was derived from the organization’s database of 80,000 food products.

The synthetic ingredient is apparently listed on product labels, but, according to eWG “has been largely overlooked because it is not known to be toxic to people in the concentration approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration—45 parts per million.” eWG claims that commercial bakers switched to ADA in the early 1990s to condition their dough after California regulators added potassium bromate, then a common dough conditioner, to its Proposition 65 list as known to the state to cause cancer. The World Health Organization has reportedly found that workers exposed to large volumes of ADA have reported respiratory symptoms and skin sensitization. See EWG News Release, February 17, 2014.