Thursday, March 6, 2008

CALIFORNIA BILL WOULD BAN TEFLON CHEMICALS IN FOOD PACKAGING

California families should be able to enjoy pizza or popcorn without fear that toxic chemicals will harm our families.

That was Sierra Club California Director Bill Magavern's message on Tuesday, when he joined Senator Ellen Corbett, the Environmental Working Group, United Steelworkers and California Labor Federation at a press conference in support of a new bill to remove toxic PFCs from food packaging.

Below are excerpts from EWG's press release.

SACRAMENTO – Your french-fry container or pizza box may be delivering a dose of toxic chemicals with your meal. Those and many other types of food packages have stain-proof or grease-proof linings made with chemicals called PFCs – the same chemicals used to make Teflon – that are linked in animal tests to cancer or reproductive harm.

State Sen. Ellen M. Corbett of San Leandro has introduced a bill, SB 1313, that would make California the first state to ban two of the most worrisome PFCs in food packaging. The bill, sponsored by Environmental Working Group (EWG), would prohibit more than trace amounts of PFCs called PFOS and PFOA in any material used to package food, beginning in 2010.

“Despite the fact that most consumers believe the packaging surrounding their food is safe, the reality is that many kinds of food packaging contain toxic chemicals that can cause harm to children’s health and the environment,” said Corbett.

For decades, PFOA and PFOS have been used in packaging for fast-food sandwiches, french fries, pizza, baked goods, beverages and candy. Today they contaminate the entire planet, from Arctic polar bears to the blood of virtually every American. Federal health officials have detected the chemicals in 98 percent of people tested, and EWG found them in the umbilical cord blood of 10 of 10 newborn babies.

PFOA is considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a likely carcinogen and a chemical that induces breast tumors in animals. In addition, PFOA and PFOS have been linked to pregnancy problems that can include developmental complications.

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