An association of pediatricians is calling for tougher food safety requirements and is recommending that children avoid food packaging that contain bisphenol A and phthalates.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said in a July 23 policy statement that BPA and phthalates were among the chemicals of most concern because of evidence they can interfere with the human endocrine system.
The Itasca, Ill.-based group wants new testing requirements and expanded authority for regulators to retest chemicals grandfathered since the 1950s, before the current regulatory system. Some of its recommendations could require Congressional action.
"There are critical weaknesses in the current food additives regulatory process, which doesn't do enough to ensure all chemicals added to foods are safe enough to be part of a family's diet," said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, lead author of the policy statement. "As pediatricians, we're especially concerned about significant gaps in data about the health effects of many of these chemicals on infants and children."
It said the estimated annual health care costs tied to endocrine disrupting chemicals is $340 billion and recommended avoiding microwaving of food in plastic.
"We need more research to better understand how food additives affect human health," said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, chair of the AAP's Council on Environmental Health. "Retesting is most important for the chemicals with increasing evidence of risks, but also those with safety data based on outdated testing methods or animal studies."
The group's statement also raised concerns about food additives like nitrates and artificial coloring.