In a news release published on April 13, 2016 a group of 10 U.S. environmental, consumer and public health groups informed about the decision of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reconsider the safety of 30 ortho-phthalates used as food additives. FDA’s decision comes in response to a food additive petition filed by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Science in the Public Interest, as well as seven other groups.

In their news release, the groups write: “Ortho-phthalates are a class of chemically- and pharmacologically-related substances used as plasticizers, binders, coating agents, defoamers, gasket closures, and slimicide agents. They are used in cellophane, paper and paperboard, and plastics that come in contact with food.”

Tom Neltner of EDF explains in a blog post published on April 13, 2016 that “academic studies have linked some of these chemicals to various reproductive, developmental and endocrine health problems. In fact, every ortho-phthalate that has been studied for these types of health effects has been found to pose a risk.” Further, Neltner discusses details of FDA’s response to the petition and describes those requests from the petition, which cannot be dealt with. According to Neltner, FDA has 180 days to determine if ortho-phthalates need to be removed from food contact materials (FCMs) since their “primary source of exposure appears to be food, presumably from their FDA-approved use in food packaging and handling equipment.”

People’s exposure to phthalates is especially elevated following fast food consumption, as a scientific study published on the same day shows (FPF reported). EDF, together with several other NGOs, has been successful recently in petitioning FDA to ban the use of 3 long-chain perfluorinated compounds in FCMs (FPF reported). Further, there is a law suit pending on the use of perchlorate in FCMs (FPF reported).

Read more

Tom Neltner (April 13, 2016). “FDA agrees to reconsider safety of ortho-phthalates.EDF Health

American Chemistry Council (April 20, 2016). “FDA’s decision to review phthalates used in food packaging is business as usual.

Sylvia Palmer (April 20, 2016). “FDA to assess safety of phthalates in FCMs.Chemical Watch

IFT (April 26, 2016). “FDA agrees to reconsider safety of ortho-phthalates.