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California becomes first state to ban four toxic ingredients, where’s the FDA?

Published in Blog on October 12, 2023 by Brianna Kraemer

Part I: The States Clash with the FDA

California became the first state to ban four toxic chemicals found in common American foods and cosmetic products last week: Red dye No. 3, bromated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, and propylparaben.

The additives are restricted in many countries due to research linking them to significant health harms, including cancer, reproductive issues, and behavioral and developmental issues in children. California’s ban takes effect in 2027, providing ample time for food manufacturers to alter recipes. Some items that will be affected include Peeps, Hot Tamales, and certain kinds of gum. 

Meanwhile, our late-to-the-game Food and Drug Administration is nowhere to be found. 

"Signing this into law is a positive step forward on these four food additives until the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews and establishes national updated safety levels for these additives," Newsom's statement said.

A candy-based lobbying group slammed the move as one that will create "a patchwork of inconsistent state requirements" rather than "a uniform national food safety system," according to KTLA.

So where is the FDA in the creation of a uniform food safety system across the county? After all, its national role is to protect public health. 

The FDA partially banned Red dye No. 3 in cosmetics after studies showed it caused cancer in lab animals, but it’s still in candy and other foods. A 1990 New York Times article reported that the dye “still has some approved uses in foods and drugs, but the FDA said it is in the process of extending the ban to cover those.” 

Over 30 years later, our government has forgotten what it once pledged. 

Propylparaben is used in cosmetics, but as the FDA notes, “cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, do not need FDA approval before they go on the market.”

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is an oil that has bromine added to it in order to keep the citrus flavoring from floating to the top in some beverages, such as Gatorade and Mountain Dew. It is banned in the European Union, and the FDA is supposedly working on a proposed rule to remove the authorization.

The final chemical outlawed in California is potassium bromate, an additive found in many baked goods such as bread, pastries, and dough. In 1999, the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined potassium bromate is a possible human carcinogen, echoing findings in several studies. However, the FDA hasn’t reviewed it since at least 1973, according to reports

SEE ALSO: Study confirms a 'revolving door' between gov't health agencies and Big Pharma

Does it sound like the FDA is on top of public health and food safety? Health officials are on the ball when it comes to the latest drugs and vaccines, but what Americans ingest is not a top priority for our federal government. 

“I just assumed there was someone in Washington, D.C. who was watching our backs, and when I learned that was not the case, it all came together for me,” explained Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, who authored the California bill.

The sovereign states have full authority to stand up to food corporations pumping Americans full of cancer-causing ingredients, but it stirs questions on why the FDA operates with a $6 billion budget if it doesn't have Americans' backs at the grocery store. Pressure is mounting for the FDA to take action now that the California state legislature has prohibited these four harmful chemicals.

The states can take charge against an inadequate federal government with Article V. State empowerment is what the Convention of States movement is all about. To support our freedom-loving effort, sign the COS petition below.

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