California’s bill would ban skittles and other processed foods that use toxic chemicals associated with health risks
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KABC) — A new bill proposed in California lawmakers would ban popular candies like Skittles and Nerds and other processed foods that contain chemicals linked to health problems like an increased risk of cancer and behavior problems in children.
Assembly Bill 418, proposed by Rep. Jesse Gabriel of Woodland Hills, would ban processed foods containing chemical red dye #1. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil and propylparaben.
All five chemicals have already been banned in the European Union following studies that have linked them to human health risks, including an increased risk of cancer, behavioral problems in children, damage to the reproductive system and damage to the immune system.
The chemicals are often added to processed foods to make them last longer, taste better, and look more enticing.
“Why are these toxic chemicals in our food?” said Susan Little, a senior advocate for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. “We know they are harmful and that children are likely to eat more of these chemicals than adults. It makes no sense that the same products that food manufacturers are selling in California are being sold in the EU but without those toxic chemicals. We thank Rep. Gabriel for his efforts to remove these toxic additives from the California food supply.”
The chemicals that would be banned by AB 418 have either never been independently evaluated or were reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration decades ago. The chemicals were allowed into the country’s food supply by being labeled as a “generally recognized as safe” chemical.
“Californians shouldn’t have to worry that the groceries they buy at their neighborhood grocery store might be full of hazardous additives or toxic chemicals,” Gabriel said. “This law will correct a worrying lack of government oversight and help protect our children, public health and the safety of our food supply.”
If passed, California would be the first state to ban such chemicals.
The bill is expected to be discussed in committee in the coming weeks.
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