California Becomes First State to Ban Four Harmful Chemicals in Food

Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Food Safety Act, the first law in the United States to prohibit four harmful chemicals from candy, cereal, soda, and other processed foods sold and produced in California.

Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills) is the author of the law that prohibits the use of brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and Red Dye No. 3 in food. 

These chemicals have been linked to hyperactivity, nervous system injury, and an increased risk of developing cancer.

All four additives are already banned by European regulators, with the limited exception of Red Dye No. 3 in candied cherries.

Environmental Working Group and Consumer Reports, two national non-governmental organizations, supported the California bill.

This ground-breaking law may affect food nationwide, not just in California, so the ban is likely to benefit all Americans. 

Given the scale of the state's economy, it is unlikely that manufacturers will produce two versions of their product, one for California and the other for the rest of the nation. 

A similar measure that would prohibit the same four chemicals plus titanium dioxide is making its way through a committee of the New York legislature.

The vast majority of chemicals added to food and food packaging to improve flavor or appearance, or to preserve freshness, are probably safe to consume.

Nonetheless, the four food chemicals covered by the California Food Safety Act have been linked to a number of severe health issues.

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