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(KTLA) – A proposed California bill could ban the sale of Skittles, Hot Tamales, Dubble Bubble Twist Gum, and other foods containing chemicals that the bill’s supporters say are toxic and dangerous.
Introduced by Assembly members Jesse Gabriel and Buffy Wicks, AB 418 proposes that California stop manufacturing, selling or distributing products containing Red No. 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, or propylparaben.
These chemicals can cause serious health problems, such as an increased risk of cancer, damage to the immune system, and behavioral problems in children, Gabriel’s office said in a statement.
While many Californians don’t recognize these chemicals by name, they can be found in popular foods and drinks. For example, according to Label Insights, titanium dioxide can be found in muffins, travel mixes, and ice cream. Propylparaben is found in caramel chocolate.
“California should not worry that the products they buy at their neighborhood grocery store may be full of dangerous additives or toxic chemicals,” Gabriel said in a statement. “This bill will fix the lack of federal oversight and help protect our children, public health, and the safety of our food.”
Many chemicals that should have been banned have never been independently reviewed or re-evaluated by the FDA for decades, Gabriel said.
“Instead, these chemicals entered the nation’s food through a loophole in a federal law known as GRAS, or “generally recognized as safe,” which was intended to apply to common household ingredients such as vinegar,” the press release said.
“As a result of this loophole, chemical companies have added new substances to foods with little or no meaningful federal oversight.”
AB-318 was mentioned twice, which means it will first be heard by the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials (ESTM). If accepted, it will be forwarded to the Health Committee of the Assembly. As of Tuesday, no date had been set for the first committee hearing.
KTXL Nexstar contacted the office of Assemblyman Jim Wood, who chairs the health committee, but declined to comment on the bill prior to the hearing. He said he would make his recommendation once the bill had been presented to the committee and the testimony had been completed.
The bill must pass both houses of the state legislature and be signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom before it becomes law. California will be the first state to pass such a law if the bill passes.