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Food & Health : Agri. & Environ. Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

California Assembly passes bill to ban Teflon chemical
By Ben Wasserman
Sep 3, 2008 - 9:59:52 PM

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Wednesday September 3, 2008 ( -- California State Assembly has approved legislation to ban a toxic Teflon chemical from food wrappers and packaging, which is linked to health risks including cancer, The Environmental Working Group, a not-for-profit environmental health advocate reported on August 27.


Senate Bill 1313 sponsored by Sen. Ellen Corbett of San Leandro passed the Assembly Wednesday with a vote of 43 to 30 and now is on the way to the governor's desk. If he approves it, no hamburger wrappers, french-fry bags, pizza boxes, beverage containers and other packaging material with the chemical Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) will be allowed in California, starting in 2010.


"This is a great victory for public health and the people of California,” said EWG Senior Analyst Renee Sharp. “This bill puts teeth in the voluntary PFOA phase-out deal brokered by the Bush EPA,” which won't take effect until 2015.


"The federal government’s toothless approach to banning a known carcinogen does not ensure that people will be protected from these chemicals,” said Sharp. "Once more California leads the way."


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already considered PFOA a likely human carcinogen known to induce testicular and mammary cancers in animals. Early studies linked PFOA exposure to low birth weight.   This chemical along with other perfluorinated chemicals are also associated with altered male reproductive hormones and affect the liver, thyroid gland and immune system, according to the EWG.


The worse thing about this chemical is that unlike other pollutants, this chemical does not break down in the environment easily and will persist for many years to come.   As a result, it is in everyone's blood in the United States, according to the EWG.

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