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Perfluorochemicals found in widespread food packaging contamination

  • 2 Min To Read
  • a month ago

A recent study has found that nearly 70 "forever chemicals", also known as PFAS, are commonly found in materials that come into contact with food, some of which have been linked to negative health outcomes. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals used in various goods such as non-stick cookware and waterproof clothing. The strong bonds in PFAS make them resistant to breaking down, leading to potential health risks.

Research conducted by Birgit Geueke and her colleagues at the Food Packaging Forum in Switzerland analyzed 1312 studies from around the world to identify PFAS present in materials that come into contact with food. They found that 68 PFAS are commonly found in food packaging and cookware, with 61 of them not previously known to be present in such materials. This highlights a lack of regulatory oversight on the use of PFAS in food packaging.

Only 39 of the 68 identified PFAS have been examined for toxicity, with one substance, perfluorooctanoic acid, classified as possibly cancer-causing based on limited evidence. Geueke emphasizes the importance of manufacturers minimizing the use of PFAS in food packaging to protect consumer health. Regulators worldwide are taking steps to address the issue, with proposals in the European Union to ban most PFAS and the US FDA announcing restrictions on certain grease-proofing materials containing PFAS in food packaging.

The presence of potentially hazardous chemicals in food packaging raises concerns about the long-term health effects on consumers. Continued research and regulatory action are necessary to ensure the safety of food packaging materials and protect public health.

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