In an article published on March 20, 2019 by news provider Civil Eats, reporter Rachel Cernansky discusses the presence of the chemical perchlorate (CAS 14797-73-0) in foods and water supplies, as well as the development on ongoing legal discussions surrounding the chemical. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States approved perchlorate for use in food packaging and food processing equipment, however objections were filed in May 2017 by multiple non-governmental organizations, and a response has not yet been issued (FPF reported). Reported health effects of perchlorate include disrupting thyroid function and affecting hormone levels needed for brain development, among others (FPF reported). Safety authorities in Germany have also previously called for the reduction of perchlorate levels in food (FPF reported).
Perchlorate has been often used in food packaging as an anti-static agent, but Tom Neltner from the Environmental Defense Fund argues in the article that “there are many, many ways that are not perchlorate to prevent explosions.” He also highlights abrasion during packaging and processing activities as a significant cause of perchlorate migration into food and argues that the “FDA did its analysis and it never considered abrasion as a source. We think FDA got the science wrong.”
Cernansky notes that actively avoiding perchlorate exposure is difficult since “it enters food when it’s still upstream from becoming a retail product—in large-scale storage and facility cleaning, for instance—so even steps like buying shelf-stable foods in bulk or bringing your own cloth bag will not spare you the exposure.” Regarding the next steps, “Neltner and colleagues expect a decision [from the FDA] imminently, but say in the meantime, children continue to be put at risk.”
Rachel Cernansky (March 20, 2019). “The Dangerous Food Additive That’s Not on the Label.” Civil Eats