Capitol Briefs: Lawmakers look to ban food additives; state announces DCFS investment

Capitol Briefs: Lawmakers look to ban food additives; state announces DCFS investment

By COLE LONGCOR
& ALEX ABBEDUTO
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

A bill in the Illinois General Assembly would ban five food additives in the state by 2027.

Senate Bill 2637, sponsored by Chicago Democrat Willie Preston, would ban companies from using certain products in food, including brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, and Red Dye 3. Preston said titanium dioxide, a food coloring agent, will be added to the ban in a future amendment.

California passed a similar ban last year which will take effect in 2027. The European Union has already banned these additives. In 2021 the European Food Safety Authority cited concerns that ingesting titanium dioxide could potentially have damaging effects on a person’s DNA. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, categorizes potassium bromate and titanium dioxide as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

“We in the state of Illinois will not allow these food additives that are putting … our children at stake to remain in the food supply,” Preston said during the news conference at the Health Lifestyle Hub in Chicago.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias also backed the bill. He said some of the health concerns stemming from ingestion of the substances include hyperactivity, nervous system damage, reproductive and hormonal issues, and an elevated risk of cancer.

“I can tell you with certainty what this bill does not do: It does not ban any products or brands. It does not take food off shelves,” Giannoulias said on Tuesday. “It will, however, encourage food manufacturers to update recipes using safer alternative ingredients that are already widely available and consumed in other places around the world.”

DCFS to fund new transitional housing facility for women

The Department of Children and Family Services announced Tuesday it will invest $3 million annually to help fund a transitional housing facility for young women in suburban Blue Island.

The UP House, short for Unlimited Potential, officially opened its transitional housing residence, “Logan’s Place,” on Tuesday. Young women between the ages of 17 ½ and 23 years old can apply for residence at UP House. Those who are admitted go through 24 months of residential programming designed to help transition into adulthood.

Once the 20 initial beds at Logan’s Place are filled, DCFS will give UP House $3 million annually to support the programming and housing it provides for its participants, Gov. JB Pritzker announced during a grand opening news conference.

Founder Tangela Thornton said she has been sheltering young women for several years in any open room she can find, whether it was in a family member’s house or her own. After purchasing the Mother of Sorrows Convent in Blue Island, “a seed sown in 2016” turned into a “149,000 square foot campus,” Thornton said.

Newcomers to the UP House will start in Logan’s Place and have access to recreation, theater and art rooms, educational resources through partnerships with local community colleges and a personal mentor, Pritzker said.

Thornton said the facility would like to expand its other unit, known as “Kumari’s Place,” which offers dorm-style living, further educational support and job readiness programs.

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of print and broadcast outlets statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

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