A bill being considered by the California State Assembly would ban the sale of Skittles, Hot Tamales candy, Dubble Bubble Twist Gum, and other food items that the sponsor says contain of potentially dangerous and toxic chemicals.
Introduced by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), AB 418 proposes that California stop allowing the manufacture, sale and distribution of foods that contain Red Dye No. 3, Titanium Dioxide, Potassium Bromate, Brominated Vegetable Oil, or Propyl Paraben.
These chemicals have been linked to health problems including increased risk of cancer, damage to the immune system and behavioral issues in children, Gabriel’s office said in a news release.
While many Californians won’t recognize these chemicals by name, they can be found in popular food and drink items. According to experts, Titanium Dioxide can be found in cupcakes, trail mix and ice cream.
Propylparaben can be found in caramel chocolate.
“Californians shouldn’t have to worry that the food they buy in their neighborhood grocery store might be full of dangerous additives or toxic chemicals,” Gabriel said in a statement.
“This bill will correct for a concerning lack of federal oversight and help protect our kids, public health and the safety of our food supply.”
Many of the chemicals that would be banned have never been independently reviewed by the FDA or re-evaluated in decades, Gabriel said.
“Instead, these chemicals have entered the nation’s food supply through a loophole in federal law—known as GRAS, or ‘generally recognized as safe’—that was intended to apply to common household ingredients like vinegar,” a news release said.
“As a result of this loophole, chemical companies have added new substances to the food supply with almost no meaningful federal oversight.”
In July, a California man filed a lawsuit claiming Skittles are “unfit for human consumption.”
Mars Inc., the maker of Skittles, said its use of “small amounts” of titanium dioxide did not harm the plaintiff and complied with FDA regulations.
The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit in November.