In an article published on January 29, 2019 by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), author Tom Neltner calls on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review three outstanding petitions on the use of ortho-phthalates in contact with food. A food additive petition and citizen petition were submitted jointly by EDF and ten other organizations and “requested the revocation of all uses of this class of chemicals in food because the agency can no longer conclude that such use is safe.” The FDA was required to decide on these two petitions by September 2018, however no decision has yet been made.

A third petition was submitted by the industry group Flexible Vinyl Alliance to request that the FDA revoke 26 ortho-phthalates from their uses as indirect food additives since they have been abandoned by the industry (FPF reported). The group explained in their petition that just four ortho-phthalates “remain relevant in food contact applications.” These include: di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7), diisononyl phthalate (DINP, CAS 28553-12-0), dicyclohexyl phthalate (DCHP, CAS 84-61-7), and diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP, CAS 26761-40-0). Public comments on the petition were due on January 14, 2019.

EDF writes that in their petitions they “showed that ortho-phthalates are a class of chemically- and pharmacologically-related substances associated with reproductive, developmental, and endocrine health effects.” They also emphasize to have “demonstrated that, when the cumulative effect of these chemicals in the diet are considered as required by law, the FDA cannot conclude their use as food contact substances (FCS) is safe.”

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Tom Neltner. (January 11, 2019). “How and when will FDA rule on ortho-phthalates in food? It’s anyone’s guess.” Environmental Defense Fund

Mike Belliveau (December 29, 2017). “Letter: (Re)emergence of phthalates in food.” Environmental Health News