FDA Reopens Comment Period on Phthalate Food Packaging Chemicals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reopening the comment period, seeking additional scientific data and information on nine currently approved phthalates.  Scientific studies have demonstrated that phthalates are harmful endocrine-disrupting chemicals* commonly used in U.S. food packaging where they can migrate to the food you eat.

Backstory

A coalition of environmental and consumer advocacy groups petitioned the FDA to revoke the approval of phthalates in food packaging and production in April 2016, but, in keeping with their normal behavior, the FDA did not respond. The groups then sued the FDA in December 2021 to force the agency to act.

In May 2022, the FDA denied the groups’ petition: (1) citing a lack of evidence by the groups to place all the phthalates into a single class of chemicals, and (2) stating that the groups’ petition did not provide enough scientific data or information to justify the revocation.

Following this move, the FDA revoked the “food contact use authorization” for 23 phthalates and two other substances that were no longer used by the industry and allowed nine phthalates to continue being used in food contact applications, albeit in a limited capacity. (source)

The FDA then put out a request for scientific data and information on the remaining phthalates in May, 2022. This request expired July 19, 2022.   The FDA has now decided to reopen the comment period on the request for information, allowing more time for the public to submit data and information on the chemicals.

To see more information on the scientific findings surrounding phthalates and the adverse health consequences linked to these chemicals, go to our blog, scroll to the bottom of the page, and enter the word “phthalates” into the search box.  You can also contact us and we will do a search of our scientific database and send you the links.

*Exposure to phthalates has been linked to adverse effects on the endocrine system, reproductive system and multiple organs, which have long-term impacts on pregnancy, child growth and development.