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How Harmful Are Food Packaging Chemicals? Scientists Have No Idea

A recent article published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests that food packaging chemicals could be doing our bodies more harm than we realize.

Food-packaging chemicals are used in almost all processed and packaged foods - Photo courtesy of earth911.com

Food packaging chemicals are used in almost all processed and packaged foods – Photo courtesy of earth911.com

The article likened the issue of food packaging chemicals to that of air pollution, though the exact effects of these chemicals are unknown. The concern that was primarily addressed in the article was that of food contact materials or FCM’s. These are the articles used in the packaging of food that come into direct contact with it and are often made of synthetic materials such as plastic or other such materials.

“FCMs are a new exposure source in the sense that they have received little attention so far in studies concerned with human health effects,” wrote the scientists.

The key problem according to the scientists who were behind the article is that because there has been little testing done on the effect of FCM’s on human health, they could be doing more harm than we realize. The scientists cited that there are toxic chemicals often used in FCM’s such as formaldehyde which could pose a potential problem

The article also explained that FCM’s are very common and can be found in a range of places such as the coating on cans, the caps on glass bottles and laminate coatings on cartons. These materials can remain on the foods after packaging, though it would be in small amounts. However, it is the prolonged exposure of these materials that concerns the scientists.

“Since most foods are packaged, and the entire population is likely to be exposed, it is of utmost importance that gaps in knowledge are reliably and rapidly filled,” the scientists said.

Though the scientists did call for action, the problem is that since virtually all foods are packaged and nearly everyone is exposed to these food packaging chemicals to some degree, it will be difficult to find any definitive links between the FCM’s and illnesses such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes.

How Harmful Are Food-Packaging Chemicals? Scientists Have No Idea

About Ryan Scott


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