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Synthetic Chemicals in Food Packaging and Storage Materials Could Harm Consumer Health

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Published on : Feb 20, 2014

According to a paper published by environmental scientists in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the synthetic chemicals that are used for storing and packaging edibles can seep into these products. This aspect can potentially harm the long-term health of consumers. These concerns have surfaced despite the fact that most chemicals used in packaging are regulated. However, people come in contact with such chemicals nearly every day, which could amplify the effect of such chemicals on health.

The authors of the paper further note that while exposure to such chemicals is low, it is chronic given that most of us consume these foods all through our life.

These packaging and storage materials-referred to as food contact materials (FCMs)-are typically made using plastic or comprise synthetic material that comes in direct contact with food stuff. Such material could include laminate, coating, and wrapping that occurs in glass jar closures and beverage cartons.

However, there’s not enough clarity of the long-term effect of chronic exposure to such FCMs, according to the authors.

According to the team behind this paper, there could be a couple of main reasons why exposure to such chemicals over a long period of time could be a cause of concern. The foremost is that consumers are exposed to known toxicants such as formaldehyde that is a known cancer-causing substance. Such substances are legally used in FCMs. Plastic bottles in which fizzy drinks are sold have been found to contain small amounts of formaldehyde.

At the same time, the fact that over 4,000 chemical substances are intentionally used in FCMs comes as a matter of concern.

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