Pthalates, chrysotile, antimony trioxide and toluene – chances are, you don’t know what these are or how to pronounce them. You’ll likely be surprised to find out they’re on a long list of hazardous chemicals, and they’re lurking in some of our food packaging.
A recent study by the Food Packaging Forum found that 175 dangerous chemicals are legally used to produce some foils, cans, storage containers and pans that serve as food contact packaging. What’s scary is this: These food containers “continuously release mixtures of synthetic substances into food at low levels, which are then ingested by the consumer on a daily basis,” Food Safety News said.
That doesn’t sound very appetizing. So, what kind of chemicals are we talking about? According to Food Safety News:
Many of the 175 substances identified are classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic. Others are considered to interfere with the hormone system, the so-called endocrine disruptors. A third group of chemicals is considered persistent and bioaccumulative.
Yikes. On the lengthy list of hazardous chemicals are substances known to cause cancer, infertility, genital malformations and a disruption in hormone production.
“From a consumer perspective, it is certainly undesirable and also unexpected to find chemicals of concern being intentionally used in food contact materials,” the study’s authors stated.
You can click here for a full list of the 175 harmful chemicals.
It’s shocking that it’s legal to use dangerous chemicals to produce materials that come in contact with the food we eat. Food Poisoning Bulletin, a consumer food safety site, said:
They should be controlled and replaced by safer alternatives, but compounds used to make food contact materials are regulated separately from other chemicals used in manufacturing. “As a consequence, chemicals with highly toxic properties may legally be used in the production of food contact materials, but not in other consumer products such as computers, textiles, and paints even though exposure through food contact materials may be far more relevant,” the study’s authors said in a statement.
The study was recently published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Food Additives and Contaminants, Part A.
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