In an article published on November 2, 2017, Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director at the non-governmental organization (NGO) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and Maricel Maffini, independent consultant, criticize the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “lack of follow-up” regarding increased levels of perchlorate found in food. In 2016, the FDA published the latest total diet study (TDS) measuring perchlorate in various food from 2008-2012 (FPF reported). The TDS revealed a significant increase in perchlorate levels in foods such as bologna, salami, and rice cereal as compared to the TDS published in 2008 covering the years 2003-2006. This resulted in increased perchlorate consumption by infants (35%), toddlers (23%), and children between 2 and 6 years of age (12%). Neltner and Maffini report that FDA has failed to do follow-up research that should have been triggered by the unusually high perchlorate levels found in the 2016 TDS, and did not investigate the reasons for the elevated perchlorate content. Neltner and Maffini highlight that food packaging is one likely source of perchlorate in food because the FDA allowed its use as an anti-static agent or sealant in 2005.
Perchlorate is known to affect thyroid hormone production and can thus impair brain development in fetuses and children (FPF reported). Therefore, in 2014, several NGOs petitioned the FDA to ban the use of perchlorate in food packaging (FPF reported). In May 2017, the FDA rejected the petition (FPF reported) upon which the NGOs filed an objection in June 2017 (FPF reported). Neltner and Maffini inform that the FDA has not yet responded to the NGOs’ objection.
Tom Neltner and Maricel Maffini (November 2, 2017). “Little follow-up when FDA finds high levels of perchlorate in food.” EDF Health