FDA Agrees to Petitioners’ Request to Reconsider Safety of Ortho-phthalates

In response to a food additive petition, FDA has agreed to consider withdrawing its approval of 30 toxic chemicals known as ortho-phthalates from use in food packaging and food handling equipment, according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which petitioned for the withdrawal, along with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Clean Water Action, Consumer Federation of America, Earthjustice, Improving Kids’ Environment, and Learning Disabilities Association of America – groups all concerned by the adverse health effects of ortho-phthalates at the levels typically seen in food.

EDF stated that the ortho-phthalates are a serious threat to pregnant woman, their developing fetuses and children, but manufacturers continue to use them, although there are alternatives. Ortho-phthalates are a class of chemically and pharmacologically related substances used as plasticizers, binders, coating agents, defoamers, gasket closures, and slimicide agents. They are used in cellophane, paper and paperboard, and plastics that come in contact with food.

Several reports have found numerous ortho-phthalates in everyday food, EDF said. While these chemicals are used in many consumer products other than food, the primary source of exposure appears to be food, presumably from their FDA-approved use in food packaging and handling equipment, EDF said, adding that academic studies have linked some of these chemicals to a variety of reproductive, developmental and endocrine health problems, from lower IQ in young children to malformation of the male genital tract.

“We’ve known these food packaging chemicals are dangerous for a while, but the food processing industry has not acted. They are not protecting the public from these toxins, so now it’s time for FDA to do so,” said Peter Lehner, senior attorney for the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program at Earthjustice.

FDA rejected two requests in the petition on technical grounds, including the NGO’s request to ban certain ortho-phthalates from children’s toys, pacifiers, teething rings and other products, although Congress banned the use of some of these in 2008 in these products. FDA also declined to review five ortho-phthalates that were approved before 1958. The petitioners plan to use a citizens’ petition to request action on these matters.

FDA has 180 days to determine if there is a “reasonable certainty of no harm” for the 30 ortho-phthalates as a class. If there is not adequate data for a particular chemical in the class, FDA must assume that chemical also has reproductive, developmental and endocrine toxicity based on its precedential decision on long-chain perfluorinated compounds, EDF said.

If FDA agrees with the petition, it will issue a rule that removes its approvals for the ortho-phthalates.

Source: Quality Assurance and Food Safety

Grilled Marinated Salmon and Asparagus


4 Salmon fillets, about 5 oz each
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/2 fresh lemon


1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp liquid honey
2 tsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients.
  2. Place salmon in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over top of salmon, spreading evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes, turning once if possible.
  3. Lightly spray asparagus with cooking spray and place on preheated and oiled grill on medium high heat. Grill, turning a couple of times until tender crisp.
  4. Add salmon fillets and grill for 5 minutes. Discard marinade. Turn salmon over and grill for about 5 minutes longer or until the fish has reached an internal temperature of 70°C (158°F) when tested with a digital food thermometer.
  5. Serve with asparagus. Squeeze lemon over asparagus just prior to serving.

Makes 4 servings

Source: Dietitians of Canada

In Pictures: Avocado Toast

Low Fat Diet Helps Postmenopausal Women Avoid Deadly Breast Cancers

Women who stayed on a low fat diet for approximately eight years reduced their risk of death from invasive breast cancers and improved their survival rates when compared with women who had not followed the dietary regimen, according to a study presented at a clinical trial plenary session, entitled “Transformative Clinical Trials in Breast Cancer,” at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting.

An association between dietary fat intake and breast cancer outcomes was suggested nearly a half-century ago but observational findings have been inconclusive. In order to determine the effects of a low fat dietary pattern on breast cancer, Rowan Chlebowski MD, PhD, of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and colleagues from the Women’s Health Initiative conducted additional analyses of a randomized clinical trial that had followed 48,835 postmenopausal women.

The women were age 50-79, had no prior breast cancer, had normal mammograms and normal dietary fat intake. Of those, 19,541 women were put on a low fat diet with nutritionist-led group sessions that sought to reduce fat intake reduction to 20% of energy and increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and grain. The other 29,294 women in the trial followed their usual dietary patterns.

After approximately eight years of remaining on the low fat diet, 1,767 of the women were diagnosed with breast cancer. Researchers found the breast cancer overall survival from diagnosis was higher in the dietary group: 82% versus 78%. The researchers said this reduction is due, in part, to better survival following breast cancer diagnosis.

“This was the first time we had examined the deaths after breast cancer among this group, and we found that a sustained low fat diet increased the survival rates among postmenopausal women after a breast cancer diagnosis,” said Dr. Chlebowski, who presented the findings at the conference. “The study also suggests that women would need to remain on the low fat diets to maintain the benefits of the dietary intervention.”

The researchers also reported that most breast cancer characteristics — including size, nodal status, and distribution of poor prognosis, triple negative cancers and HER2 positive cancers — were similar between the two groups of women. But there were fewer progesterone receptor negative cancers in the dietary group (28.4% versus 33%). In addition, researchers noted lower cardiovascular disease mortality in the dietary group.

Source: EurekAlert!

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