New York A6424A/S6055B food additives ban fact sheet

NY A6424A/S6055B would ban seven unsafe food additives (Red 3, propylparaben, BVO, potassium bromate, titanium dioxide, azodicarbonamide, and BHA) in the state.

FDA allows dangerous food chemicals to remain on the market 

The US Food and Drug Administration is the federal agency responsible for ensuring the safety of food additives, both before and after they come to the market. Yet frequently, the agency takes insufficient action to protect consumers, even when safety risks are discovered. Some additives authorized by FDA, like Red 3, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), azodicarbonamide (ADA), and potassium bromate, have the potential to cause cancer according to the FDA itself or according to other authorities, like the US National Toxicology Program and the World Health Organization. Others, like titanium dioxide (TiO2), propylparaben, and brominated vegetable oil (BVO), are linked to other adverse effects, like DNA damage and reproductive harm. Most of these additives are banned or heavily restricted in the European Union. The FDA’s inaction needlessly exposes the public—including those especially susceptible to toxic exposures like children and pregnant individuals—to dangerous food additives. 

States can act where FDA refuses 

Fortunately, state policymakers have the power to take decisive action to protect consumers while FDA fails to act. Last year, California became the first state to ban Red 3, BVO, potassium bromate, and propylparaben. New York Assemblymember Dr. Anna Kelles and Senator Brian Kavanagh have introduced a bill (A6424A/S6055B) which would ban those same four chemicals and three additional chemicals—titanium dioxide, BHA, and azodicarbonamide—in New York.

Why ban these seven food additives? 

Each of the seven chemicals is linked to severe human health harm and is unnecessary. 

  • FDA classified Red 3 as carcinogenic in 1990, and promised to ban it in food but never did. 
  • ADA, BHA, and potassium bromate are also linked to cancer. 
  • BVO and TiO2 can accumulate in the body and potentially cause harm to our organs and tissues. 
  • Propylparaben causes reproductive harm and hormone disruption. 
  • ADA, BHA, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and TiO2 are fully prohibited in the EU. Red 3 is allowed only for use in the EU in certain kinds of cherries. 
  • TiO2 and Red 3 are color additives, and thus are completely unnecessary, serving only to make food more visually appealing as a marketing tool for the food industry. BVO, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and ADA have been largely phased out of food, with very few US products still listing them as ingredients. 
  • FDA acknowledges that ADA is not a necessary additive.
  • Many US food products containing the substances banned or restricted in the EU are still available in the EU without these harmful additives. 

A6424A/S6055B present an opportunity for New York to protect consumers while FDA refuses to act.

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