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FDA loopholes allow imports of chemical paper products that cause permanent brain damage in infants


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(NaturalNews) A group of consumer and health groups came together on October 16 demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issue an outright ban on a group of man-made chemicals that are wreaking havoc on both people and the environment.

While the hazards surrounding perchlorate and perfluorocarboxylates (PFCs) are well known, their applications aren't prohibited in the U.S., and in fact are still being used in other regions like China and India, allowing the chemicals to make their way into our country via imports.

PFCs are a group of synthetic chemicals that do not exist naturally in the environment but are building up in the soil, water, wildlife and in humans. Their range of industrial uses is vast, including fire resistance, water repellency and providing non-stick surfaces on cookware, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

However, one of their most common uses is preventing grease separation in food products such as pizza boxes and sandwich wrappers. PFCs prevent grease from leaching into paper and cardboard and also reduce static in dry food packaging.

PFCs affect the brains of developing fetuses, as well as cause irreversible damage to men's reproductive systems

When ingested by people, PFCs are incredibly damaging, causing permanent brain damage in fetuses and infants. The chemicals have also been linked to thyroid malfunction, preventing the gland's ability to make hormones from iodine that are crucial to brain development in babies.

Damage to male reproductive organs, reduction in testicular weight and testicular degeneration has also been linked to PFCs, according to a report by The Washington Post.

Attempting to persuade the FDA to ban these chemicals, eight consumer groups including the New York-based National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Breast Cancer Fund, the Center for Food Safety and the Children's Environmental Health Network filed a food additive petition in hopes of eliminating loopholes in the system that allow the chemical's presence in U.S. markets.

"We already know that perchlorate is both toxic and widespread in food and the bodies of virtually all Americans, so adding more to packaging that can get into food is especially risky," said Erik D. Olson, senior strategic director for health and food at NRDC.

Exports containing PFCs still allowed into the U.S. despite FDA awareness regarding their toxicity to humans

"FDA should ban this chemical immediately from food uses to protect pre-natal and young children from potentially permanent brain damage," he added.

Aware of the health hazards, in 2011 the FDA asked three U.S. companies to voluntarily stop using PFCs, to which they complied. However, NRDC says without an outright ban, large manufacturers in other countries can still use the toxins in U.S. imports.

"FDA should swiftly ensure that these risky PFCs, which it has already asked domestic producers to stop using, aren't sneaking into our food supply through pizza boxes or sandwich wrappers made overseas," Olson said.

Noted in the petition are 14 new studies performed from 2009 to 2014 that support the FDA's earlier concerns about the chemicals harming prenatal and postnatal development and reproduction complications in men and possibly in women too.

"Therefore, we request that FDA revoke the approvals it granted decades ago for the three classes of long-chain perfluorocarboxylates," the petition states.

In a statement provided to the Post, the FDA said once it receives the food additive petition it will review and respond to the petitioner within 15 days, after which it will either accept or not accept the petition for filing. Upon acceptance, the FDA will publish a notice in the Federal Register opening it up to public comment for 30 days.

Following public comments, it will either throw the petition out or begin the regulatory process to ban the chemicals.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com

http://www.nrdc.org

http://www.epa.gov

http://www.epa.gov

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