FDA Bans Seven Food Additives that Cause Cancer

Consumers will no longer have to worry about these hidden carcinogenic ingredients in their food.

In response to a lawsuit brought by NRDC and a coalition of health, consumer, and environmental groups, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today banned seven cancer-causing chemicals found in artificial flavoring used for various food and beverages. “Carcinogens have no place in the food we feed our families,” says Erik Olson, director of Health & Food at NRDC. “This is welcome news for millions of Americans who have been unknowingly snacking on cancer-causing chemicals for far too long.”

The seven chemicals have been routinely added to a wide range of beverages and food, including baked goods, candy, chewing gum, and ice cream. They’re listed on the ingredient list as “artificial flavors” rather than by their full names: benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, methyl eugenol, myrcene, pulegone, pyridine, and styrene.

The public health win comes amid an administration-wide effort to loosen protections against harmful chemicals—like the FDA’s lack of action to ban several phthalates, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s moves to weaken the Toxic Substances Control Act.

“The FDA’s free pass for these dangerous secret ingredients stops now,” Olson says.

Demand real leadership at the EPA

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