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EWG supports CA proposal to get toxic teflon chemicals out of food packaging

EWG supports CA proposal to get toxic teflon chemicals out of food packaging

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Senior Analyst
Environmental Working Group


Before the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality

Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
April 7, 2008

Mr. Chair, members of the Committee, Senator Corbett, thank you for the opportunity to testify on SB1313, legislation to ban the perfluorinated chemicals PFOA and PFOS from food packaging. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization with offices in Oakland and Washington, DC. In the ranks of dangerous, widespread and persistent chemicals, PFCs may be the worst, and the most threatening to the health of humans and the planet. PFCs are found in the blood of more than 98% of Americans, and are often in children’s blood at higher levels than in adults’. They build up in the food chain and contaminate wildlife around the globe. EPA considers PFCs likely human carcinogens, and they are known to induce testicular and mammary cancers in animals. PFCs are also associated with impaired fetal development, altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system. And, unlike other pollutants, all of which break down in the environment eventually, PFOA never breaks down. Every molecule that is produced today will be around forever, continually redistributing throughout the environment, food chain, and population. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution and more people are harmed. We strongly support Sen. Corbett’s efforts to ban PFCs in food packaging, and believe this bill can be an excellent way to accomplish it. We have discussed with Sen. Corbett our concerns about sections 10891 (b) and (c) 108943 (c), which were not in earlier drafts of the bill and could inadvertently encourage the use of other toxic compounds as substitutes for PFCs. In our written testimony we describe our concerns in detail and would be glad to discuss them with you We applaud Senator Corbett for agreeing to swift action to remove these provisions and produce an even better bill we will strongly support. We look forward to working with Ms. Corbett and the committee to resolve these issues and to passing legislation that substantially advances public health protections from chemicals by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA. Thank you.






Before the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality

Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
April 7, 2008

Mr. Chair, members of the Committee and Senator Corbett, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Committee on Senate Bill 1313, legislation to ban perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), including PFOA and PFOS, from food packaging, a major source of human exposure to these pollutants. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization that uses the power of information to protect public health and the environment. EWG has offices in Washington, DC and Oakland, California. In addition to our strong support of your efforts to ban PFCs, we also hope that SB 1313 will ultimately advance public health by ensuring that any replacement chemicals are safe for children. Unfortunately, because of language that was inserted into the bill at the last minute, we have grave concerns about the bill’s ability to do that as it stands now, concerns that are shared by Senator Corbett. So while we believe it is important that the bill move forward, we also strongly believe that changes need to be made to the bill prior to its final passage to ensure that public health is fully protected. The actions proposed in SB 1313 would protect children’s health by reducing their exposures to PFCs, including PFOA and PFOS. These actions are needed because the current federal system of public health protections is badly broken. This system allows chemicals on the market that subsequently end up in children’s bodies at levels that pose health risks. It also fails to require that manufacturers prove chemicals are safe for children and other vulnerable populations, or to consider risks during windows of vulnerability in a child’s development or risks from cumulative exposures to multiple chemicals over time. It is critical for states to pass measures like SB 1313 to protect children from the most toxic chemicals in consumer products and to lead the way toward sorely needed federal policy reform. It is also important for states to show leadership with policies that protect health that are responsible, science-based, and precautionary. California cannot win comprehensive public health protection by regulating one product and one chemical at a time. But the state can pass measures that target the most toxic chemicals in products used by the most vulnerable members of its population, its children. With this bill, California continues its leadership to limit the use of toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products. Many states have followed this lead with similar measures introduced and passed over the past two years. California’s leadership in this movement is a vital step toward comprehensive federal reform to protect all children nationwide from chemicals in everyday products that can harm their health. This bill to ban PFCs in food packaging is another significant contribution toward that goal. Over the years, this committee has heard significant testimony about toxic chemicals that build up in people and wildlife. PCBs, DDT, brominated fire retardants: these are all compounds that have received attention because of their toxicity, their ability to build up in the food chain and people, and their persistence in the environment. Perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, are yet another class of these persistent organic pollutants. Only worse. In fact, PFCs may be the most notorious chemicals ever made. PFCs are found in the blood of more than 98 percent of Americans, and are often in children’s blood at higher levels than in adults’. They build up in the food chain and contaminate wildlife around the globe. PFOA, a chemical in the PFC family targeted by this bill, is considered a likely human carcinogen by EPA’s science advisory panel, and induces testicular and mammary tumors in animals. PFCs are also associated with impaired growth of babies in the womb, altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system. These adverse health effects are reason enough to phase out PFCs from food packaging, one of the major sources of human exposure, as soon as possible. But there is another reason to ban these PFCs. Unlike other persistent organic pollutants, all of which have some capacity to break down in the environment, PFOA and PFOS (two PFCs targeted in this bill) never break down. Every molecule ever produced will be around forever and will continually redistribute throughout the environment, the food chain, and the human population. We must ban these PFCs now; we cannot wait for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) voluntary phase-out program. It is voluntary, limited to a subset of PFCs of concern, and will not be completed until 2015. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution and more people are harmed. We need to get them out of our food packaging, and therefore our food, much sooner. SB 1313 will accomplish that. It will ban an expanded list of PFCs found in people’s bodies by 2010. We strongly urge the committee to support these provisions. We would also like to express our serious concerns about the effects of sections 10891(b), (c) and 108943(c), which were not in earlier drafts of the bill. EWG’s support for this otherwise excellent legislation to ban PFCs in food packaging in California is contingent on the resolution of these issues and we applaud Senator Corbett for committing to swift action to remove these provisions and produce an even better bill. These newly added provisions are extremely problematic for at least three reasons. First, the requirement in section 108943c that substitutes have the "fewest hazard traits" has no basis in science or public health principles because it does not take into account the potency of the substitute compound. This provision would allow extremely potent toxic chemicals to be used as substitutes simply because based on the available data the compound had fewer hazard traits. Because these new sections of the bill do not require testing for all the adverse health effects listed in section 108941b, the bill creates a major incentive for chemical companies not to test their chemicals so that they will qualify as the substitutes with the fewest identified hazard traits. This section also creates an imposing bureaucratic requirement for the state, which would have to ensure that every substitute offered for every use of PFOA and PFOS had the fewest hazard traits. In essence, the taxpayers will have to pay for state scientists to ensure that substitutes comply with a requirement that does nothing to improve the public health, and could easily allow more hazardous compounds to be used a substitutes for these PFC chemicals. SB 1313 would help fill current gaping holes in our system of federal health protections. There is no place in consumer products for PFCs, which are widely recognized to be toxic to humans and to persist in the environment in perpetuity. SB 1313 would protect Californians from harmful exposures to these chemicals in their food. California’s leadership on this issue is important, to ensure that consumers across the state have safer products and to help build toward federal policy reforms that would require that all products and all chemicals be proven safe for all children and others who are vulnerable, before they are sold. California joins a selects group of states that have chosen to be proactive in recognizing the toxicity of PFCs and in protecting the public health. We thank Ms. Corbett and the committee for their commitment to resolving these serious problems in the current draft and look forward to working with them to pass legislation that substantially advances public health protections from chemicals by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA in California. Thank you.






Before the California State Senate Health Committee

Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
April 23, 2008

Ms. Chair, members of the Committee and Senator Corbett, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Committee on Senate Bill 1313, legislation to ban perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), including PFOA and PFOS, from food packaging, a major source of human exposure to these pollutants. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization that uses the power of information to protect public health and the environment. EWG has offices in Washington, DC and Oakland, California. The actions proposed in SB 1313 would protect children’s health by reducing their exposures to PFCs, including PFOA and PFOS. These actions are needed because the current federal system of public health protections is badly broken. This system allows chemicals on the market that subsequently end up in children’s bodies at levels that pose health risks. It also fails to require that manufacturers prove chemicals are safe for children and other vulnerable populations, or to consider risks during windows of vulnerability in a child’s development or risks from cumulative exposures to multiple chemicals over time. It is critical for states to pass measures like SB 1313 to protect children from the most toxic chemicals in consumer products and to lead the way toward sorely needed federal policy reform. It is also important for states to show leadership with policies that protect health that are responsible, science-based, and precautionary. California cannot win comprehensive public health protection by regulating one product and one chemical at a time. But the state can pass measures that target the most toxic chemicals in products used by the most vulnerable members of its population, its children. With this bill, California continues its leadership to limit the use of toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products. Many states have followed this lead with similar measures introduced and passed over the past two years. California’s leadership in this movement is a vital step toward comprehensive federal reform to protect all children nationwide from chemicals in everyday products that can harm their health. This bill to ban PFCs in food packaging is another significant contribution toward that goal. Over the years, this committee has heard significant testimony about toxic chemicals that build up in people and wildlife. PCBs, DDT, brominated fire retardants: these are all compounds that have received attention because of their toxicity, their ability to build up in the food chain and people, and their persistence in the environment. Perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, are yet another class of these persistent organic pollutants. Only worse. In fact, PFCs may be the most notorious chemicals ever made. They are persistent, lasting literally forever in the environment. DDT, by comparison, has a half-life in the environment of 10 years. They build up in people, with a half-life of 4 years in human blood. They are considered likely human carcinogens by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, and they are associated with a number of developmental problems in people. PFCs are found in the blood of more than 98% of Americans, according to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and the former PFC manufacturer 3M. They have been found in 100% of the more than 300 cord blood samples tested in the US to date. PFCs are often found in children’s blood at higher levels than adults’ – in some cases at levels as high as chemical plant workers. They build up in the food chain and contaminate wildlife around the globe. Levels in polar bears have been increasing by 20 percent each year since 2000, according to a study published in March. PFCs induce testicular and mammary cancers in animals, according to the EPA.. Two studies conducted by professors at UCLA and Johns Hopkins and published in leading journals last year have linked PFOA exposure among the general population to low birth weight. PFCs are also associated with altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system. Unlike other persistent organic pollutants, all of which have some capacity to break down in the environment, PFOA and PFOS (two PFCs targeted in this bill) never break down. Every molecule ever produced will be around forever and will continually redistribute throughout the environment, the food chain, and the human population. We must ban these PFCs now; we cannot wait for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) voluntary phase-out program. It is voluntary, limited to a subset of PFCs of concern, and will not be completed until 2015. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution and more people are harmed. We need to get them out of our food packaging, and therefore our food, much sooner. SB 1313 will accomplish that. It will ban an expanded list of PFCs found in people’s bodies by 2010. We strongly urge the committee to support these provisions. SB 1313 would help fill current gaping holes in our system of federal health protections. There is no place in consumer products for PFCs, which are widely recognized to be toxic to humans and to persist in the environment in perpetuity. SB 1313 would protect Californians from harmful exposures to these chemicals in their food. California’s leadership on this issue is important, to ensure that consumers across the state have safer products and to help build toward federal policy reforms that would require that all products and all chemicals be proven safe for all children and others who are vulnerable, before they are sold. California joins a selects group of states that have chosen to be proactive in recognizing the toxicity of PFCs and in protecting the public health. We thank Ms. Corbett and the committee for their commitment to resolving these serious problems in the current draft and look forward to working with them to pass legislation that substantially advances public health protections from chemicals by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA in California. Thank you.






Before the California State Senate Health Committee

Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
April 23, 2008

Ms. Chair, members of the Committee, Senator Corbett, thank you for the opportunity to testify on SB1313, legislation to ban the perfluorinated chemicals PFOA and PFOS from food packaging. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization with offices in Oakland and Washington, DC. In the ranks of dangerous, widespread and persistent chemicals, PFCs may be the worst, and the most threatening to the health of humans and the planet. PFCs are found in the blood of more than 98% of Americans, according to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and the former PFC manufacturer 3M. They have been found in 100% of the more than U.S. 300 cord blood samples tested to date. PFCs are often found in children’s blood at higher levels than adults’ – in some cases at levels as high as chemical plant workers. They build up in the food chain and contaminate wildlife around the globe. Levels in polar bears have been increasing by 20 percent each year since 2000, according to a study published in March. EPA considers PFCs likely human carcinogens, and they are known to induce testicular and mammary cancers in animals. Two studies conducted by professors at UCLA and Johns Hopkins and published in leading journals last year have linked PFOA exposure among the general population to low birth weight. PFCs are also associated with altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system. And, unlike other pollutants, all of which break down in the environment eventually, PFOA and PFOS never break down, according to both the EPA and 3M. Every molecule that is produced today will be around forever, continually redistributing throughout the environment, food chain, and population. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution and more people are harmed. Californians cannot wait for the EPA’s voluntary phase to take effect. And we must ensure that safe alternatives – which already exist – are used as substitutes rather than other toxic, bioaccumulative and persistent chemicals. We applaud Sen. Corbett’s efforts to substantially advances public health protections from chemicals by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA. Thank you.






Glenn Evers Testimony

SB 1313 Before the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality

April 7, 2008

Mr. Chair, members of the Committee, Senator Corbett, thank you for the opportunity to testify on SB1313, legislation to ban perfluorinated chemicals from food packaging. My name is Glenn Evers, and for 22 years I was a research scientist at DuPont where my responsibilities included developing fluorochemicals for food packaging. I am here to tell you that the chemicals described in SB1313 are dangerous and should be banned from use in food packaging as soon as possible. California cannot wait for the EPA’s voluntary phase out or California’s Green Chemistry initiative to take effect – action needs to be taken now. You don't see PFCs, you don't feel them, and you can't taste them. But when you open a freshly popped microwave popcorn bag, and pull out steaming pieces of popcorn, you are also extracting fluorchemicals. You're eating them and they are getting into your blood. And if you are a pregnant mother, you are passing those chemicals on to your baby. As little as a few parts per million of fluorochemicals can have a profound influence on water, blood and any surface they contact. They coat food packaging to keep grease from soaking through, and cling to blood cells in the body, and are linked to cancer, developmental harm, and other adverse effects in studies of laboratory animals, workers and the general population. In early 2000, 3M discovered that their fluorochemical fed to mother rats crossed the placenta to kill and deform baby rats, at the same time the company found its chemical in wildlife globally and in the blood of hundreds of children tested. 3M reported these findings to EPA and under pressure withdrew their product from a $100 million market in less than 3 months. Two other large fluorochemical producers have divested their fluorochemical business, realizing that making these chemicals is simply not wise. And there is no reason to use them since there are plenty of readily available replacements. Already, companies making ethically conscientious choices to avoid fluorochemicals include Wendy’s, Burger King, and more recently McDonalds, all of whom have eliminated fluorochemicals from food packaging. Domtar Paper, Wausau Paper and Michelman commercialized fluorochemical-free food wrap paper through a variety of methods. Necessity is the mother of invention, and new government regulations to protect public health foster innovation in the chemical industry. I have worked with chemical suppliers for over 25 years. I can tell you that most chemical users require compliance with California chemical laws even though their own state is slow in adopting best practices. The great state of California is recognized throughout the United States as a leader, and thanks to your efforts you have set the example for caring for public health and the environment. I urge the Committee to continue this leadership with SB 1313. Thank you.

Before the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality

Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
April 7, 2008

Mr. Chair, members of the Committee, Senator Corbett, thank you for the opportunity to testify on SB1313, legislation to ban the perfluorinated chemicals PFOA and PFOS from food packaging. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization with offices in Oakland and Washington, DC. In the ranks of dangerous, widespread and persistent chemicals, PFCs may be the worst, and the most threatening to the health of humans and the planet. PFCs are found in the blood of more than 98% of Americans, and are often in children’s blood at higher levels than in adults’. They build up in the food chain and contaminate wildlife around the globe. EPA considers PFCs likely human carcinogens, and they are known to induce testicular and mammary cancers in animals. PFCs are also associated with impaired fetal development, altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system. And, unlike other pollutants, all of which break down in the environment eventually, PFOA never breaks down. Every molecule that is produced today will be around forever, continually redistributing throughout the environment, food chain, and population. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution and more people are harmed. We strongly support Sen. Corbett’s efforts to ban PFCs in food packaging, and believe this bill can be an excellent way to accomplish it. We have discussed with Sen. Corbett our concerns about sections 10891 (b) and (c) 108943 (c), which were not in earlier drafts of the bill and could inadvertently encourage the use of other toxic compounds as substitutes for PFCs. In our written testimony we describe our concerns in detail and would be glad to discuss them with you We applaud Senator Corbett for agreeing to swift action to remove these provisions and produce an even better bill we will strongly support. We look forward to working with Ms. Corbett and the committee to resolve these issues and to passing legislation that substantially advances public health protections from chemicals by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA. Thank you.






Before the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality

Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
April 7, 2008

Mr. Chair, members of the Committee and Senator Corbett, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Committee on Senate Bill 1313, legislation to ban perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), including PFOA and PFOS, from food packaging, a major source of human exposure to these pollutants. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization that uses the power of information to protect public health and the environment. EWG has offices in Washington, DC and Oakland, California. In addition to our strong support of your efforts to ban PFCs, we also hope that SB 1313 will ultimately advance public health by ensuring that any replacement chemicals are safe for children. Unfortunately, because of language that was inserted into the bill at the last minute, we have grave concerns about the bill’s ability to do that as it stands now, concerns that are shared by Senator Corbett. So while we believe it is important that the bill move forward, we also strongly believe that changes need to be made to the bill prior to its final passage to ensure that public health is fully protected. The actions proposed in SB 1313 would protect children’s health by reducing their exposures to PFCs, including PFOA and PFOS. These actions are needed because the current federal system of public health protections is badly broken. This system allows chemicals on the market that subsequently end up in children’s bodies at levels that pose health risks. It also fails to require that manufacturers prove chemicals are safe for children and other vulnerable populations, or to consider risks during windows of vulnerability in a child’s development or risks from cumulative exposures to multiple chemicals over time. It is critical for states to pass measures like SB 1313 to protect children from the most toxic chemicals in consumer products and to lead the way toward sorely needed federal policy reform. It is also important for states to show leadership with policies that protect health that are responsible, science-based, and precautionary. California cannot win comprehensive public health protection by regulating one product and one chemical at a time. But the state can pass measures that target the most toxic chemicals in products used by the most vulnerable members of its population, its children. With this bill, California continues its leadership to limit the use of toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products. Many states have followed this lead with similar measures introduced and passed over the past two years. California’s leadership in this movement is a vital step toward comprehensive federal reform to protect all children nationwide from chemicals in everyday products that can harm their health. This bill to ban PFCs in food packaging is another significant contribution toward that goal. Over the years, this committee has heard significant testimony about toxic chemicals that build up in people and wildlife. PCBs, DDT, brominated fire retardants: these are all compounds that have received attention because of their toxicity, their ability to build up in the food chain and people, and their persistence in the environment. Perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, are yet another class of these persistent organic pollutants. Only worse. In fact, PFCs may be the most notorious chemicals ever made. PFCs are found in the blood of more than 98 percent of Americans, and are often in children’s blood at higher levels than in adults’. They build up in the food chain and contaminate wildlife around the globe. PFOA, a chemical in the PFC family targeted by this bill, is considered a likely human carcinogen by EPA’s science advisory panel, and induces testicular and mammary tumors in animals. PFCs are also associated with impaired growth of babies in the womb, altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system. These adverse health effects are reason enough to phase out PFCs from food packaging, one of the major sources of human exposure, as soon as possible. But there is another reason to ban these PFCs. Unlike other persistent organic pollutants, all of which have some capacity to break down in the environment, PFOA and PFOS (two PFCs targeted in this bill) never break down. Every molecule ever produced will be around forever and will continually redistribute throughout the environment, the food chain, and the human population. We must ban these PFCs now; we cannot wait for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) voluntary phase-out program. It is voluntary, limited to a subset of PFCs of concern, and will not be completed until 2015. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution and more people are harmed. We need to get them out of our food packaging, and therefore our food, much sooner. SB 1313 will accomplish that. It will ban an expanded list of PFCs found in people’s bodies by 2010. We strongly urge the committee to support these provisions. We would also like to express our serious concerns about the effects of sections 10891(b), (c) and 108943(c), which were not in earlier drafts of the bill. EWG’s support for this otherwise excellent legislation to ban PFCs in food packaging in California is contingent on the resolution of these issues and we applaud Senator Corbett for committing to swift action to remove these provisions and produce an even better bill. These newly added provisions are extremely problematic for at least three reasons. First, the requirement in section 108943c that substitutes have the "fewest hazard traits" has no basis in science or public health principles because it does not take into account the potency of the substitute compound. This provision would allow extremely potent toxic chemicals to be used as substitutes simply because based on the available data the compound had fewer hazard traits. Because these new sections of the bill do not require testing for all the adverse health effects listed in section 108941b, the bill creates a major incentive for chemical companies not to test their chemicals so that they will qualify as the substitutes with the fewest identified hazard traits. This section also creates an imposing bureaucratic requirement for the state, which would have to ensure that every substitute offered for every use of PFOA and PFOS had the fewest hazard traits. In essence, the taxpayers will have to pay for state scientists to ensure that substitutes comply with a requirement that does nothing to improve the public health, and could easily allow more hazardous compounds to be used a substitutes for these PFC chemicals. SB 1313 would help fill current gaping holes in our system of federal health protections. There is no place in consumer products for PFCs, which are widely recognized to be toxic to humans and to persist in the environment in perpetuity. SB 1313 would protect Californians from harmful exposures to these chemicals in their food. California’s leadership on this issue is important, to ensure that consumers across the state have safer products and to help build toward federal policy reforms that would require that all products and all chemicals be proven safe for all children and others who are vulnerable, before they are sold. California joins a selects group of states that have chosen to be proactive in recognizing the toxicity of PFCs and in protecting the public health. We thank Ms. Corbett and the committee for their commitment to resolving these serious problems in the current draft and look forward to working with them to pass legislation that substantially advances public health protections from chemicals by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA in California. Thank you.






Before the California State Senate Health Committee

Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
April 23, 2008

Ms. Chair, members of the Committee and Senator Corbett, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Committee on Senate Bill 1313, legislation to ban perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), including PFOA and PFOS, from food packaging, a major source of human exposure to these pollutants. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization that uses the power of information to protect public health and the environment. EWG has offices in Washington, DC and Oakland, California. The actions proposed in SB 1313 would protect children’s health by reducing their exposures to PFCs, including PFOA and PFOS. These actions are needed because the current federal system of public health protections is badly broken. This system allows chemicals on the market that subsequently end up in children’s bodies at levels that pose health risks. It also fails to require that manufacturers prove chemicals are safe for children and other vulnerable populations, or to consider risks during windows of vulnerability in a child’s development or risks from cumulative exposures to multiple chemicals over time. It is critical for states to pass measures like SB 1313 to protect children from the most toxic chemicals in consumer products and to lead the way toward sorely needed federal policy reform. It is also important for states to show leadership with policies that protect health that are responsible, science-based, and precautionary. California cannot win comprehensive public health protection by regulating one product and one chemical at a time. But the state can pass measures that target the most toxic chemicals in products used by the most vulnerable members of its population, its children. With this bill, California continues its leadership to limit the use of toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products. Many states have followed this lead with similar measures introduced and passed over the past two years. California’s leadership in this movement is a vital step toward comprehensive federal reform to protect all children nationwide from chemicals in everyday products that can harm their health. This bill to ban PFCs in food packaging is another significant contribution toward that goal. Over the years, this committee has heard significant testimony about toxic chemicals that build up in people and wildlife. PCBs, DDT, brominated fire retardants: these are all compounds that have received attention because of their toxicity, their ability to build up in the food chain and people, and their persistence in the environment. Perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, are yet another class of these persistent organic pollutants. Only worse. In fact, PFCs may be the most notorious chemicals ever made. They are persistent, lasting literally forever in the environment. DDT, by comparison, has a half-life in the environment of 10 years. They build up in people, with a half-life of 4 years in human blood. They are considered likely human carcinogens by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, and they are associated with a number of developmental problems in people. PFCs are found in the blood of more than 98% of Americans, according to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and the former PFC manufacturer 3M. They have been found in 100% of the more than 300 cord blood samples tested in the US to date. PFCs are often found in children’s blood at higher levels than adults’ – in some cases at levels as high as chemical plant workers. They build up in the food chain and contaminate wildlife around the globe. Levels in polar bears have been increasing by 20 percent each year since 2000, according to a study published in March. PFCs induce testicular and mammary cancers in animals, according to the EPA.. Two studies conducted by professors at UCLA and Johns Hopkins and published in leading journals last year have linked PFOA exposure among the general population to low birth weight. PFCs are also associated with altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system. Unlike other persistent organic pollutants, all of which have some capacity to break down in the environment, PFOA and PFOS (two PFCs targeted in this bill) never break down. Every molecule ever produced will be around forever and will continually redistribute throughout the environment, the food chain, and the human population. We must ban these PFCs now; we cannot wait for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) voluntary phase-out program. It is voluntary, limited to a subset of PFCs of concern, and will not be completed until 2015. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution and more people are harmed. We need to get them out of our food packaging, and therefore our food, much sooner. SB 1313 will accomplish that. It will ban an expanded list of PFCs found in people’s bodies by 2010. We strongly urge the committee to support these provisions. SB 1313 would help fill current gaping holes in our system of federal health protections. There is no place in consumer products for PFCs, which are widely recognized to be toxic to humans and to persist in the environment in perpetuity. SB 1313 would protect Californians from harmful exposures to these chemicals in their food. California’s leadership on this issue is important, to ensure that consumers across the state have safer products and to help build toward federal policy reforms that would require that all products and all chemicals be proven safe for all children and others who are vulnerable, before they are sold. California joins a selects group of states that have chosen to be proactive in recognizing the toxicity of PFCs and in protecting the public health. We thank Ms. Corbett and the committee for their commitment to resolving these serious problems in the current draft and look forward to working with them to pass legislation that substantially advances public health protections from chemicals by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA in California. Thank you.






Before the California State Senate Health Committee

Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
April 23, 2008

Ms. Chair, members of the Committee, Senator Corbett, thank you for the opportunity to testify on SB1313, legislation to ban the perfluorinated chemicals PFOA and PFOS from food packaging. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization with offices in Oakland and Washington, DC. In the ranks of dangerous, widespread and persistent chemicals, PFCs may be the worst, and the most threatening to the health of humans and the planet. PFCs are found in the blood of more than 98% of Americans, according to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and the former PFC manufacturer 3M. They have been found in 100% of the more than U.S. 300 cord blood samples tested to date. PFCs are often found in children’s blood at higher levels than adults’ – in some cases at levels as high as chemical plant workers. They build up in the food chain and contaminate wildlife around the globe. Levels in polar bears have been increasing by 20 percent each year since 2000, according to a study published in March. EPA considers PFCs likely human carcinogens, and they are known to induce testicular and mammary cancers in animals. Two studies conducted by professors at UCLA and Johns Hopkins and published in leading journals last year have linked PFOA exposure among the general population to low birth weight. PFCs are also associated with altered male reproductive hormones, and effects on the liver, thyroid gland, and immune system. And, unlike other pollutants, all of which break down in the environment eventually, PFOA and PFOS never break down, according to both the EPA and 3M. Every molecule that is produced today will be around forever, continually redistributing throughout the environment, food chain, and population. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution and more people are harmed. Californians cannot wait for the EPA’s voluntary phase to take effect. And we must ensure that safe alternatives – which already exist – are used as substitutes rather than other toxic, bioaccumulative and persistent chemicals. We applaud Sen. Corbett’s efforts to substantially advances public health protections from chemicals by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA. Thank you.






Before the California State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Hearing on Senate Bill 1313
June 10, 2008 Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, Senator Corbett, thank you for the opportunity to testify on SB1313, legislation to ban the perfluorinated chemicals PFOA and PFOS from food packaging. My name is Renee Sharp and I am a Senior Analyst with the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization with offices in Oakland and Washington, DC. In the ranks of dangerous, widespread and persistent chemicals, PFCs may be the worst, and the most threatening to the health of humans and the planet. They are persistent, lasting literally forever in the environment. Every molecule that is produced today will be around forever, continually redistributing throughout the environment, food chain, and population. Every day PFCs are used means more pollution is produced and more people are harmed. The Centers for Disease Control have found PFCs in the blood of almost all Americans tested, and in the umbilical cord blood of all of the 300 newborns tested. PFCs are often found in children’s blood at higher levels than adults – in some cases, levels as high as in chemical plant workers. They are considered likely human carcinogens by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, and they are associated with low birth weight, reproductive and developmental problems in lab animals. The University of West Virginia is conducting a study of almost 69,000 people exposed to PFOA in drinking water near a DuPont plant, and the preliminary results, just released, are sobering. Higher PFOA concentrations in blood are associated with disorders of the liver, immune system and thyroid system, and elevated cholesterol in children. Much discussion of this bill has focused on the fact that it also bans from food packaging new PFCs that are very similar to PFOS and PFOA. Although the chemical industry is pushing these chemicals as safer, with one lobbyist going so far as to call them “green chemistry,” a report EWG released yesterday demonstrates convincingly that there is no evidence they are safer than PFOS and PFOA. We’ve provided copies of this report and will be glad to discuss the issue at length if you are interested. As our report shows, the voluntary phaseout of PFCs agreed to by DuPont and other companies by 2015, is no guarantee of safer food packaging. Californians cannot wait for the EPA’s voluntary phase to take effect. And we must ensure that safe alternatives – which already exist – are used as substitutes rather than other toxic, bioaccumulative and persistent chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects. We applaud Senator Corbett’s efforts to protect public health by banning food packaging uses of PFOS and PFOA. Thank you.