By Megan Boyle
Perchlorate, a toxic component of rocket fuel, may be harming your baby’s development – and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is allowing it to happen, even in the face of clear health hazards.
That’s why Environmental Working Group has joined the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental and public health organizations to sue the FDA for letting manufacturers use perchlorate as a food additive.
Perchlorate disrupts thyroid function and hormone production, both essential for healthy brain and organ development. At greatest risk of harm are fetuses, babies and young children.
Millions of Americans face unavoidable exposure to perchlorate in drinking water and contaminated produce and milk. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local water utilities, particularly in California, are making major efforts to identify, regulate and clean up perchlorate in drinking water.
Yet the FDA permits manufacturers to add perchlorate to plastic packaging for powdered baby formula and foods such as rice and beans. FDA argues that perchlorate is safe in food packaging, but that position is based on a deeply flawed analysis and also ignores new science underscoring the risk.
“Banning perchlorate should be a no-brainer when you consider its threat to human health, particularly to fetal development,” said Ken Cook, co-founder and president of the Environmental Working Group. “We hope this lawsuit spurs FDA to give a new look at the science, instead of relying on its original, flawed reasoning, and to move swiftly to protect consumers from exposure to this toxic chemical.”
The Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Food Safety, Center for Environmental Health and Center for Science in the Public Interest joined EWG and NRDC in the suit, filed March 31.
The groups previously petitioned FDA to ban the use of perchlorate in food packaging, but the agency failed to respond.