Monday, July 26, 2021 by Divina Ramirez
Chemical giants DuPont and Daikin had known about the dangers of certain chemicals used in food packaging since 2010 but hid them from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The Guardian first reported.
The chemicals, known as 6:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH), have been linked to several health problems, such as developmental problems, cancer and liver and neurological damage. Despite that, the chemicals can still be found in to-go food containers, greaseproof pizza boxes and fast-food wrappers.
Both companies had submitted internal studies to the FDA proving that 6:2 FTOH was safer than other types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Known as “forever chemicals,” PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals typically used to make many types of everyday products, such as non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing and stain-resistant carpets.
But Maricel Maffini, an independent researcher who studies PFAS in food packaging, found that Daikin withheld a 2009 study that showed 6:2 FTOH stayed in animals’ bodies for much longer than initially thought.
According to Maffini, had the FDA seen the findings of the study, it is unlikely that the FDA would have approved 6:2 FTOH. DuPont was also caught hiding studies that suggest toxicity in PFAS. In particular, researchers have found higher mortality rates among young animals and mothers exposed to PFAS.
Despite these revelations, DuPont and Daikin are not facing any repercussions.
In 2020, the FDA announced that three manufacturers agreed to a three-year phase-out of their sales of compounds that contain 6:2 FTOH. After the three-year period, it could take up to 18 months for manufacturers to exhaust existing stocks of products containing 6:2 FTOH in the market.
Companies like Taco Bell, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have vowed to be proactive in using wrappers, containers and other types of food packaging that don’t contain 6:2 FTOH.
However, it’s important to note that the phase-out only applies to 6:2 FTOH, not other kinds of PFAS. So until more states ban PFAS, customers need to be vigilant about the foods they consume and the packaging those foods come in. (Related: New study finds that a chemical in food packaging is damaging children’s teeth.)
Here are other ways to reduce your exposure to 6:2 FTOH and other types of PFAS:
Learn more about the adverse health effects associated with PFAS exposure at Chemicals.news.
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