Food packaging: A Route of Exposure
It’s not only the way food is produced or the additives we use that may expose us to toxics; it’s also the chemicals in the packaging that comes in contact with our food. Chemicals that are used to make plastics, can linings, paper coatings and adhesives can migrate into food. More than 6,000 chemicals are used in food packaging and are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as “indirect additives.” At least 175 of these chemicals are recognized for their potential for adverse health effects.
In Our Food and Our Bodies
The potential for materials to migrate from packaging into food can increase when there is fat or grease, heat or cold, or wear and tear. Chemicals of concern to human health include phthalates in plastic wrap, BPA in hard plastics, polystyrene in foam containers, a number of chemicals in PVC plastic and PFOS in grease-proof coatings. Food packaging is thought to be a significant source of human exposure to phthalates and BPA.
Progress to Protect Health
A 2013 study by Pew Charitable Trusts concluded that the FDA does not have the authority it needs to ensure the safety of chemicals in food packaging, or the resources to effectively implement the law. In the absence of strong Federal protections, states have stepped into the gap and passed laws that not only protect their residents, but exert pressure on industry to make change.
12 adopted policies in 11 states
- Current Policies
- Adopted Policies