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A new report by The Guardian reveals chemical giants DuPont and Daikin lied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when they told agency officials certain types of “forever chemicals” used in food packaging were safer and less likely to accumulate in humans than older versions of the chemicals.
According to The Guardian, the companies deliberately concealed the negative health effects of fluorotelomer alcohol, or 6:2 FTOH, a type of “short-chain” per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals used in pizza boxes, to-go containers and fast-food wrappers.
The chemicals have been linked to numerous health issues including kidney disease, liver damage, cancer, neurological damage, developmental problems and autoimmune disorders.
According to The Guardian:
“The companies initially told the FDA that the compounds were safer and less likely to accumulate in humans than older types of PFAS, also known as ‘forever chemicals’ and submitted internal studies to support that claim.”
What Daikin didn’t tell the FDA — or the public — is that a 2009 internal company study showed low-level exposure to the chemicals damaged the livers and kidneys of lab rats.
In 2012, DuPont learned the chemicals stayed in the bodies of animals for longer than previously believed. Yet, DuPont took no action to alert the FDA or to make the information available to the public — until three years later when the company summarized its findings in a study that independent researcher Maricel Maffini, who studies PFAS in food packaging, said used “cherry-picked” data to support its claim that the 6:2 FTOH chemicals were safe.
Toxic food packaging chemicals to be pulled from market, but not soon enough
While DuPont’s 2012 study summary wasn’t exactly truthful, it still caught the FDA’s attention, triggering a safety review that resulted in a voluntary phase-out of 6:2 FTOH compounds in food packaging.
In July 2020, the FDA said:
“Beginning in January 2021, three manufacturers will begin a 3-year phase-out of their sales of certain substances that contain 6:2 FTOH for use as food contact substances in the U.S.