Protect Families from Forever Chemicals
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Sponsor: The Hunger Site
Forever chemicals, also known as PFAS, are contaminating everyday products such as baby bedding, clothes, toys, and dog and cat food packaging. Take action!
Dangerous chemicals known as forever chemicals, or PFAS, have become a pervasive threat to our health and the environment.
These highly toxic chemicals, linked to cancer and other serious health problems, do not break down in the environment and build up in our bodies and those of our pets over time1. A study by the Environmental Working Group found PFAS in everything from baby supplies to pet food2.
The testing revealed that these harmful chemicals were present in baby bedding, clothes, and toys, as well as the packaging of popular brands of dog and cat food. As pet owners and parents, this is alarming news. We often trust that the products we purchase for our loved ones are safe and free from harm, but this is not always the case3.
Forever chemicals, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in a wide range of products for decades. They are called "forever chemicals" because they do not break down in the environment and can accumulate in our bodies over time, leading to serious health problems4. These chemicals are found in everything from firefighting foam to non-stick cookware, and recent testing has shown that they are also present in everyday items such as drinking water and personal care products5.
PFAS can enter our bodies through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact. Once in our bodies, they can accumulate and persist for years6.
PFAS have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer and thyroid issues. These chemicals are also known to weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infections and illnesses. Moreover, PFAS exposure can lead to developmental problems in children, such as delayed growth and learning disabilities7.
The dangers of PFAS exposure are compounded for pets and children, who are particularly vulnerable due to their hand-to-mouth behavior. Children may unknowingly ingest PFAS from contaminated toys, food packaging, or even from their parents' clothes. Similarly, pets may come into contact with PFAS from their bedding, toys, or food packaging. Given their small size, pets are also more likely to be impacted by PFAS exposure, making it crucial for pet owners to be aware of the potential risks8.
While the FDA does have approval processes for food contact substances, some critics argue that they are not stringent enough. The FDA's current process is primarily based on voluntary submission of data by manufacturers, and the agency does not have the authority to require safety testing or impose limits on the use of these substances. This means that the safety of many food packaging materials, including those containing PFAS, is largely determined by the manufacturers themselves9.
Due to the limitations of current regulations, many environmental and public health organizations are calling for increased regulation of PFAS and other potentially harmful substances. In particular, they are pushing for stronger federal regulations that would require manufacturers to submit safety data and limit the use of these chemicals in consumer products10. Some states have already taken action, with several banning or restricting the use of PFAS in certain products. The FDA has also announced plans to phase out certain PFAS in food packaging materials, though this process is expected to take several years11.
By coming together, we can demand that our health and safety come first. We cannot wait any longer to address the growing threat of PFAS. sign the petition and call on the FDA to increase regulation of PFAS and other potentially harmful substances used in baby bedding, clothes, toys and food packaging.
- Matthew Daly, Associated Press (26 August 2022), "EPA to designate ‘forever chemicals’ as hazardous substances."
- Environmental Working Group (June 2022), "Mapping the PFAS contamination crisis: New data show 2,858 sites in 50 states and two territories."
- Aliya Uteuova, The Guardian (12 Apr 2022), "Harmful chemicals found in toys and canned food at US discount stores."
- Rachel Salvidge and Leana Hosea, The Guardian (23 February 2023), "What are PFAS, how toxic are they and how do you become exposed?."
- Leigh Matthews, LeafScore (21 January 2023), "PFAS, PFOA, and PTFE: Everything You Need to Know."
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (1 November 2022), "Understanding PFAS Exposure and Your Body."
- Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, "PFAS Exposure and Risk of Cancer."
- Bevin E. Blake and Suzanne E. Fenton, Toxicology (October 2020), "Early life exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and latent health outcomes: A review including the placenta as a target tissue and possible driver of peri- and postnatal effects."
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (21 February 2018), "Determining the Regulatory Status of Components of a Food Contact Material."
- Hannah Ray, Green Science Policy Institute (21 September 2021), "Guidance on New PFAS Reporting Rule for Manufacturers."
- Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., Susan T. Mayne,, Ph.D., U.S. Food and Drug Administration (31 July 2020), "FDA Announces Voluntary Agreement with Manufacturers to Phase Out Certain Short-Chain PFAS Used in Food Packaging."
To the United States Food and Drug Administration, Commissioner of Food and Drugs,
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the presence of PFAS and other potentially harmful substances in baby bedding, clothes, and toys, as well as the packaging of popular brands of dog and cat food. These chemicals, also known as "forever chemicals," are linked to serious health risks, especially to children and pets.
We urge the FDA to increase regulation of PFAS and other potentially harmful substances used in these products to protect the health and safety of consumers. The current regulatory framework is inadequate to address the risks posed by these chemicals. We call on the FDA to take immediate action to protect the public from exposure to PFAS and other harmful substances.
Specifically, we ask that the FDA:
- Conduct a comprehensive review of the safety of PFAS and other potentially harmful substances used in baby bedding, clothes, and toys, as well as the packaging of popular brands of dog and cat food.
- Develop and implement stricter regulations for the use of PFAS and other harmful substances in these products, including the establishment of safety standards and testing requirements.
- Require manufacturers to provide clear and transparent labeling of products containing PFAS and other potentially harmful substances.
- Increase public education and awareness about the health risks of PFAS and other harmful substances, including the importance of reducing exposure and taking steps to protect our health.
We believe that these actions are necessary to protect the health and safety of consumers, particularly children and pets who are most vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals. We urge the FDA to take immediate action to address this important public health issue.