On June 28, 2018, California Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced in the U.S. Senate a bill to ban the use of ortho-phthalate chemicals as food contact substances. Feinstein had announced plans to present such a bill in March 2018 (FPF reported).

In a press release published on the same day, Senator Feinstein stated that “plastics containing phthalates that come in contact with our food can leach the harmful chemicals into what we eat, creating serious health problems for people of all ages,” with children and adolescents being of particular concern. The introduced legislation piece “would ban phthalates from materials that touch food and ensure the safety of any substance used as a replacement,” the press release further reads. This is expected to reduce exposure to phthalates from food. The bill provides companies with a two-year period to phase-out phthalates and find safe alternatives.

The proposed legislation is “part of Senator Feinstein’s ongoing effort to remove harmful phthalates from consumer products.” She has authored the Children’s Chemicals Risk Reduction Act in 2007. Signed into law in 2008, this act banned phthalates in toys and other children’s products.

Phthalates are widely used as plasticizers in diverse plastics. These chemicals have been associated with multiple health problems. In the food supply chain, phthalates are found in “conveyor belts used during food production, plastic gloves worn to handle food, and containers and wrappings used for food packaging,” the press release explained.

Read more

Dianne Feinstein (June 28, 2018). “A bill to ban the use of ortho-phthalates as food contact substances.(pdf)

Dianne Feinstein (June 28, 2018). “Feinstein introduces bill to prevent harmful phthalate chemicals from contaminating food.

Chemical Watch (July 3, 2018). “Bill to remove phthalates from FCMs introduced into U.S. Senate.