More and more studies are finding negative health effects from hormone disrupting chemicals (which we are exposed to every single day, and subsequently which are in all of us), such as parabens, phthalates, Bisphenol-A (BPA), and chemical substitutes for BPA such as Bisphenol-S (BPS) and BPF. The last post had some recent studies that looked at health effects of hormone disrupting chemicals. The following article points out some of the many difficulties in developing packaging that is safe and doesn't leach endocrine disrupting chemicals or even other chemicals.
We generally focus on hormone disrupting chemicals in plastic bottles or metal cans (which their epoxy liners), but other parts of packaging may (or may not) also leach chemicals. Some leaching may occur with the adhesives used to seal foil pouches, and the polypropylene inner layers also may leach stabilizers. Glass jars are OK, but jar lids may be equipped with BPA-based epoxy liners and/or gaskets that leach plasticizers. Greaseproof wrappers may leach poly- and perfluorinated compounds used to make some packaging greaseproof (may occur if packaging is from India and China - because it is legal to import into USA and use). Some ceramic kitchenware - the glazes used in artisanal pottery and older mass produced ceramics may leach toxic metals, especially lead. There can even be "offset migration" which occurs when the printed outer surface of food packaging transfers chemicals to the inner food-contact surface. Whew...
Bottom line: Even BPA alternatives (labeled BPA-free) should be viewed as the same as BPA (as endocrine disruptors) - in other words, currently there are no good BPA substitutes. Read labels and try to minimize plastics in personal care products (e.g., lotion, fragrances) and your food if possible (e.g., choose glass, stainless steel, wax paper, aluminum foil). This is especially important during pregnancy. Don't microwave food in a plastic dish or container, or covered with plastic wrap. Eat fresh foods and try to avoid soda cans and other packaged, processed foods, especially in plastic containers or metal cans. From Environmental Health Perspectives: A Hard Nut to Crack: Reducing Chemical Migration in Food-Contact Materials
When we buy food, we’re often buying packaging, too. From cherries to Cheez-It® crackers, modern foods are processed, transported, stored, and sold in specialized materials that account, on average, for half the cost of the item, according to Joseph Hotchkiss, a professor in Michigan State University’s School of Packaging. Consumer-level food packaging serves a wide range of functions, such as providing product information, preventing spoilage, and protecting food during the journey from production to retail to pantry, fridge, or freezer. That’s why food producers lavish so much time and money on it.
But what happens when these valuable and painstakingly engineered containers leach chemicals and other compounds into the food and drink they’re designed to protect? Such contamination is nearly ubiquitous; it happens every day, everywhere packaged food is found, with all common types of packaging, including glass, metal, paper, and plastic. Even as awareness of the issue grows, large-scale solutions that are scientifically and financially viable remain out of reach. The challenges in reaching them are many. ...continue reading "Chemicals Migrate From Containers to Food"