The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Rocket Fuel Chemical Doesn’t Belong in Food Packaging
iStock / Getty Images
Perchlorate has been shown to impair the development of fetuses and young children — and yet the FDA refuses to act. So 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."
Exposure to perchlorate — which is used in rocket fuel — has been linked to developmental delays, reduced growth, and impaired learning capabilities in young children. And yet it's frequently used as an additive in food packaging as well as in materials used to store and transport foods like cereal, flour, and spices. The chemical has also been detected in drinking water systems that serve up to 16.6 million Americans.
In 2005, the FDA authorized perchlorate to be used in certain kinds of food packaging. NRDC and other public health groups fought to undo that decision in 2014, but the agency denied our petition in 2017. The latest lawsuit is an effort to require the agency to review that petition again. "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," Olson says.
- Common Food Additives Harm Children's Health, Pediatricians Warn ›
- EPA's Proposal for Limiting Rocket Fuel in Drinking Water Is ... ›
- EPA: Perchlorate in Drinking Water Can Harm Fetal Brain ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jason Bittel
Authorities in Hong Kong intercepted some questionable cargo three years ago — a rather large shipment of shark fins that had originated in Panama. Shark fins are a hot commodity among some Asian communities for their use in soup, and most species are legally consumed in Hong Kong, but certain species are banned from international trade due to their extinction risk. And wouldn't you know it: this confiscated shipment contained nearly a ton of illegal hammerhead fins.
Coldplay is releasing a new album on Friday, but the release will not be followed by a world tour.
Scientists have discovered a genetic basis to resistance against ash tree dieback, a devastating fungal infection that is predicted to kill over half of the ash trees in the region, and it could open up new possibilities to save the species.