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Schumer Calls for Study of Toxic Chemicals in Fast Food Packaging

by Countable | 7.31.17

What’s the story?

Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on the FDA to do government studies on the health effects of the use of toxic phthalates in fast food packaging and processing. CDC studies going back to 2010 have linked fast food consumption to increased phthalates in consumers’ bodies, but the FDA has taken no steps to date to address the issue.

Why does it matter?

Phthalates are a class of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible. According to SaferChemicals.org:

"[phthalates are] used in building materials, flooring, automotive interiors, furniture, and clothing...adhesives, dyes or inks, and solvents in an enormous range of everyday products including air fresheners, cleaning products and detergents, cosmetics, and personal-care products, such as fragrances and nail polish. Phthalates are also found in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food packaging, sealants, and printing inks.”

Many phthalates have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, meaning they disrupt the normal functioning of human hormonal systems, affecting fertility, testicular development in utero, as well as susceptibility to breast cancer in women. They leach from materials into food, are absorbed through the skin and are inhaled via dust. For this reason, via the Consumer Product Safety Act of 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the use of six types of phthalates in children’s toys and certain child care articles.

The CDC also underwent a seven year study, from 2003-2010, of the possible links between fast food consumption and phthalate exposure. The study found that in consumers who have eaten fast food in the last 24 hours, their blood levels of phthalates were between 23.8-39 percent higher than those who had not consumed fast food.

In the press release that accompanied Schumer’s letter to the head of the FDA, Schumer called on the FDA to expedite studies to assess the potentially toxic effects on millions of consumers:

"Consumers are not giving these everyday packaging products a second thought. They assume they are safe—and they should be, especially when their reach extends to millions upon millions of Americans. So, the FDA must take my order for a fast food packaging investigation very seriously and take this long-sitting health data off the backburner. The agency must now take a closer look at these products for the sake of consumers and their everyday health."

Some observers disagree about the risks of phthalates, even those involved in the government studies used to justify the ban of phthalates in children’s toys. They argue that the science did not show significant exposure or risk, so the ban was rooted more in public concern than science.

What can you do?

Do you think the FDA should investigate possible ties between fast food consumption and phthalate exposure?

Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

Leave a comment
(54)
  • Joanne
    07/31/2017
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    This study should have started back in 2010. What is the FDA waiting for???!!! Maybe there should also be a study on the people in the FDA!!!

    Like (31)
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  • Jamie
    07/31/2017
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    Plastics need to be out of our food and landfills. Good job

    Like (19)
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  • Jeanne
    07/31/2017
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    This is absolutely wonderful. We need to get rid of all plastics and toxins in our country, food and anything that the body can absorb. I would like to see chemical plants work one day a month because that's all we need.

    Like (14)
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  • Alex
    07/31/2017
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    This is the best idea this man has ever had......

    Like (10)
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  • Suzi
    08/01/2017
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    Yes! I support Senator Chuck Schumer's request for the FDA to investigate possible ties between fast food consumption and phthalate exposure. 🤢 Sooner the better!

    Like (9)
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  • Dizzle
    07/31/2017
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    Fast food is becoming an epidemic and could be a leading cause to death in many Americans. Not only death but heart disease as well. It's so sad how poorly we are treating ourselves and how easy these problems are to prevent

    Like (6)
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  • Liz
    07/31/2017
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    Good!!!

    Like (6)
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  • خودي
    07/31/2017
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    It seems to me that food these days is the root of many health problems in the USA. Please make healthy food more accessible and fast food more regulated.

    Like (4)
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  • Diane
    08/02/2017
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    It is the job of the FDA to ensure the foods in our country are safe. Why are they not already studying this issue? Do your jobs!

    Like (4)
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  • Steven
    08/01/2017
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    The FDA should investigate possible ties between fast food consumption and phthalate exposure. Please support Sen Chuck Schumer's study.

    Like (4)
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  • Carol
    08/01/2017
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    Get plastic and other toxins out of food ..

    Like (3)
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  • Mary
    07/31/2017
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    If the FDA banned 6 phthalates in toys, why did they not just ban them in all things? Guess who eats all those nuggets and cheeseburgers--lots of kids. Yes get rid of that stuff.

    Like (3)
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  • Yo
    07/31/2017
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    Fast food and food should stop be marketed as we did with cigarettes,society should treat food as a necessity,clean,simple,fresh

    Like (3)
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  • Sharknader
    08/01/2017
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    Also, what about fast food additives?

    Like (3)
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  • Sherrie
    08/01/2017
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    All food need to be safe.

    Like (3)
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  • evelynpsims
    07/31/2017
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    What are we waiting on to have our FDA do needed studies on these packaging materials? As your constituent it is highly important to me to have this done. Furthermore, it is my thought that food service corporate America should be required to have proof that all materials they utilize in food handling is safe. Why is our government agencies always the ones to foot the bill, provide testing studies and then recommend removal or change. Corporate business should be doing this!

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  • Anthony
    08/01/2017
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    This is s no brainer, keeping the people safe is your job.

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  • Janice
    08/01/2017
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    Please support this! Our fast food industry is killing Americans.

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  • James
    07/31/2017
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    Schumer probably eats the stuff his own self! Bill Clinton used to go jogging in Washington and duck into McDonalds! It was on the News! Get rid of the styrofoam packaging and go back to paper!

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  • Donna
    07/31/2017
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    Chemicals not only in our food supply packaging but in our food are making Americans sick. How can this be allowed to continue? Big business is profiting off consumer health. If we truly want to fix our healthcare system we need to start with the basics, making sure our food supply is not making us sick.

    Like (3)
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