FDA's Missed Opportunities to Tackle Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Food

July 6, 2022
1:00 pm US Eastern Time


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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently decided to allow continued use of nine phthalates in plastics, paper, and adhesives that contact food or drinks. The agency originally approved these uses decades ago, and in response to petitions from public health advocates, acknowledged that it has not assessed the safety of phthalates since 1985. FDA officials published a separate request for information on the use and safety of the phthalates that will still be allowed. Studies have linked phthalate exposure to a range of serious human health harms, particularly in children.

Many groups have petitioned FDA to reconsider allowable levels of BPA in food packaging as well, including most recently members of the Endocrine Society. Extremely low levels of BPA exposure have been linked to a number of human health harms, including overactive immune responses, increased risk of breast cancer and infertility.

Dr. Maricel Maffini provided an overview of FDA's approach to endocrine disruption in the assessment of chemicals in food packaging, focusing particularly on these recent actions on phthalates and BPA. Dr. Maffini is an independent consultant with more than 25 years of experience researching carcinogenesis, reproductive biology, and endocrine disruption.

The webinar was moderated by Sharyle Patton, founder and director of Commonweal's Biomonitoring Resource Center. It lasted for 45 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.

This webinar was sponsored by the EDC Strategies Partnership. The EDC Strategies Partnership is co-chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel and Sarah Howard (Environmental Health Sciences' Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies HEEDS), Genon Jensen (Health and Environment Alliance, HEAL), and Kristin Schafer (Commonweal's CHE, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page. For updates and more information on upcoming webinars, sign up for our HEEDSHEAL, and CHE newsletters! 

Featured Speaker

Dr. Maricel V. Maffini is an Independent Consultant based in Maryland, US. She has more than 25 years of research experience in the fields of carcinogenesis, reproductive biology, and endocrine disruption. For the past eleven years, her work has focused on the safety of chemicals in food and food packaging, its regulation, and the market’s influence. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, blogs and book chapters. She co-authored a petition requesting the US Food and Drug Administration to revoke the use of phthalates in contact with food.

Before becoming a consultant, she was a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council; a senior science officer at The Pew Charitable Trust, and a Research Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. She consults with public interest organizations and private businesses.
She is a member of the Food Packaging Forum science advisory board, a science advisor to the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and a Fellow of Collegium Ramazzini.