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Get these hormone-disrupting chemicals out of our food

Delivery to the Food and Drug Administration

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What’s At Stake

If you think the plastics industry shouldn’t be allowed to contaminate our food with toxic chemicals, we need you to let the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) know you disagree with its recent decision taking the chemical industry’s side on this.

Last month, the FDA refused to ban phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates), a type of petrochemical used in packaging that leaches into food and causes serious harm to human health. No matter how careful you are about what you eat, your food likely contains phthalates because the FDA allows these chemicals to be used for producing and packaging food.

Phthalates are linked to birth defects, infertility, and miscarriage. They can also harm children’s brain development, leading to reduced IQ and attention and behavior disorders. Babies and young children are most vulnerable to harm from phthalates and suffer the greatest exposure since they eat and drink more per pound of body weight. And people of color in all age groups, as well as economically insecure people, face disproportionately high levels of exposure to phthalates, placing them at heightened risks of serious health problems from phthalates.

Given the well-established — and growing — body of scientific studies linking phthalate exposure through food and drinks to serious health harms, Earthjustice and our partners asked the FDA to ban phthalates in food packaging and production materials in 2016. After years of stalling by the FDA, Earthjustice and our partners sued to force an end to the agency’s harmful inaction. The FDA had ample time and overwhelming evidence that allowing phthalates to get into our food is causing life-altering harm to people’s health — but when compelled to finally make a decision, it chose to let corporations keep adding these toxic chemicals to our food.

We deserve better from the Agency charged with ensuring our food is safe from toxic chemicals. Urge FDA Commissioner Robert Califf to reconsider this disastrous decision and ban phthalates from food packaging.

mac_and _cheese
Mike Mozart/ Flickr CC BY 2.0

Findings revealed DEHP, the most widely banned phthalate around the world, in all ten macaroni and cheese powders.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.