(CBS) Some popular candies and snacks are being put under the microscope.
California could become the first state in the nation to ban the sale, manufacture and distribution of foods containing five chemicals linked to cancer risk, reproductive harm and behavioral issues in children.
State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel of Woodland Hills is a co-sponsor of AB 418, which would prohibit the use of Red Dye Number 3; Titanium Dioxide, which is used in many candies; Potassium Bromate, used in some breads; Bromated Vegetable Oil and Propylparaben.
Gabriel says the additives are “the worst of the worst.”
All of these additives have been banned in Europe for years. Thousands of chemicals are added to processed foods to provide freshness, taste and color. Red Dye Number 3 has been in banned in cosmetics in the U.S. since the 1990s.
“When I realized that 99% of these chemicals are not being reviewed by the FDA, that was my ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Gabriel said.
Dana Hunnes, senior clinical dietician and UCLA, says the number of additives in our food supply is concerning. “The more we consume of a certain product, the more likely it is that we’re going to have negative side effects in our body,” she said.
The food industry is pushing back. Nearly a dozen business associations responded in opposition to the proposed legislation, saying “The United States federal government has a comprehensive food safety process…and the five additives have been thoroughly reviewed…and continue to be deemed safe.”
Ashley and Jermaine Rawlings are careful about what they feed their two young children. They read food labels closely, and Ashley thinks the proposed legislation is a good idea.
“It’s crazy that I have to look at every single product to even see what’s going into my child’s body, what’s going into my body,” Ashley said.
She and her husband hope that having products with fewer additives will add up to better health. Lawmakers in favor of the bill are hoping the legislation will spark changes nationwide.
The legislation still must clear the committee level before going to a vote of the full Assembly. Then it must pass the state Senate and receive Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature before it can go into effect.