FDA Refuses To Ban Chemical Used In Rocket Fuel From Food Packaging
Though you’ve probably never heard of perchlorate, a quick look around your kitchen and pantry would reveal that this chemical — which is used in the production of rocket fuel — is everywhere.
Perchlorate is utilized by the food industry in plastic packaging and food handling equipment for dry food to reduce the buildup of static electricity charges. And it’s most often found in cereal, flour, spices, and other additives.
Yet despite the fact that perchlorate has been proven to impair the development of fetuses and young children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refuses to ban the additive, EcoWatch reports:
“The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is taking the agency to court.
“NRDC and partners took legal action to overturn the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to allow the harmful chemical perchlorate to be used in food packaging. ‘Perchlorate harms kids, and it’s all over our food supply,’ says Erik D. Olson, senior strategic director for health and food at NRDC. ‘The FDA has enough evidence of these health dangers to take action right now—and its refusal to ban this toxic chemical was unreasonable.'”
The use of perchlorate in certain kinds of food packaging has been allowed by the FDA since 2005, meaning that most of us have probably ingested untold amounts of the chemical and served food products to our families that include the very same substance that helps to produce the fuel for rockets used to explore outer space.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) the dangers of perchlorate cannot be overstated:
“The chemical … disrupts the thyroid gland’s normal function and reduces production of the thyroid hormone needed for healthy fetal and child brain development. FDA’s own studies show increased levels of perchlorate in foods such as baby food dry cereal, indicating the chemical’s intentional use in dry food packaging is the likely source of increased exposure for young children.”
When the FDA decided in May of 2017 that it would continue to allow perchlorate in dry food packaging, EDF notes, it relied on “flawed science” involving three central errors:
- Ignoring its own data showing significantly increased exposure for children;
- Woefully underestimating exposure based on a flawed migration test; and
- Unrealistically assuming that perchlorate-laden plastic would only contact food once.
The lawsuit filed by NRDC and other groups calls for the FDA to review the petition for banning perchlorate, with Olson remarking:
“The courts are absolutely key in blocking brazen Trump administration attempts like this one to ignore science and put people at risk for the benefit of private corporate interests.”
If the FDA fails to act and continues to allow the usage of perchlorate, the results could wind up impacting all of us by decreasing the level of thyroid hormones in our bloodstream, which is also known as hypothyroidism. And that, in turn, the U.S. National Library of Medicine warns, could have adverse effects on:
- Cardiovascular system
- Pulmonary system
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Neuromuscular system
- Nervous system
- Male and female reproductive system
- Numerous endocrine organs
For now, all we can do is wait for a possible victory in court that will convince the FDA to reconsider its ruling on perchlorate.
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