Groups sue FDA over rocket fuel chemical in dry foods

At a Glance

In 2014, BCPP joined an official Food Additive Petition, brought by Natural Resources Defense Council and 6 other NGOs, to ban the use of perchlorate in the processing and packaging of dry foodstuffs.

Perchlorate, a hormone disrupting chemical used in rocket fuel and fireworks, is harmful to human health.

Science Summary

Able to disrupt the thyroid hormone in the body, perchlorate can damage the developing brain of fetuses, infants and children. Following a company request in 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permitted its use as an anti-static agent in plastics that store, handle, transport and distribute dried foods like rice, flour, grains, sugar, spices and more. As perchlorate rubs off from the plastics into the food, ongoing contamination of food is widespread. The FDA’s own 2016 studies show that people’s exposure has increased markedly over nearly a decade.

Challenging the FDA

Because this chemical is a hormone disruptor, and the FDA has failed to correctly apply good scientific analysis to its decision making on this chemical, BCPP has joined several partner organizations to challenge the FDA on perchlorate.

In 2014, BCPP joined an official Food Additive Petition, brought by Natural Resources Defense Council and 6 other NGOs, to ban the use of perchlorate in food packaging of dry foodstuffs. The FDA took our petition in December 2014. After delaying several times, in May 2017, the FDA rejected our petition with a decision that used flawed science; and in April 2019, FDA denied our request for a formal evidentiary public hearing.

Consequently, BCPP, the Center for Environmental Health, the Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, and the Natural Resources Defense Council have taken the FDA to court to stop the use of perchlorate in food packaging and processing plastics.

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