Food Packaging and its Effects on Our Health

To maintain our health, we often include the healthiest food in our diet, and we engage in different activities to stay fit. However, is this enough to prevent diseases that we may acquire in the long run?


According to a new study that was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, some of the food that we eat uses different synthetic chemicals in their packaging. When the chemicals leak into the food that we eat, it can increase our risk of health conditions.

The toxic effect of chemicals from food packaging may manifest as we grow older. Note that some chemicals are regulated. But, consuming a little of it every day when we eat processed foods can greatly affect our long-term health. The head of the study stated that our exposure to these chemicals may not be high, but it is chronic.

food packaging

Where can we find the toxic chemicals absorbed by packed or processed foods?

FCMs or food contact materials are typically made of plastic or has synthetic materials that can be absorbed by the food. The chemicals are mostly found on closures of glass jars, coating and laminate in beverage cartons.

Few studies have been made to determine the long-term effect of the chronic exposure to FCMs. The head of the study says, “These facts may be of relevance to scientists interested in the developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis (DOHaD), life-course effects of in utero and childhood environmental exposures, plasticity, epigenetics and related processes.”

Constant exposure to popular toxicants may impose a danger to our health

Popular toxicants such as formaldehyde or the chemical that can cause cancer is commonly used to make FCMs. Although plastic bottles and containers may contain a small amount of formaldehyde, it can still affect our health when it piles up in our system.

In addition to this, there are chemicals that can disrupt the production of hormones in our body like phthalates, bisphenol A, triclosan and tributyrin which are also present in Food contact materials.

The author explained, “Whereas the science for some of these substances is being debated and policy makers struggle to satisfy the needs of stakeholders, consumers remain exposed to these chemicals daily, mostly unknowingly.”

Aside from the chemicals that were previously mentioned, around 4000 chemicals are also used in making FCMs. However, routine toxicology analyses does it include the potential cellular changes cause by the food containers and wrappers. This is an issue that should be addressed in order to regulate the chemicals used in the FCMs accurately.

“More research needs to take place to determine the effect of chronic exposure to FCMs on our health”

The author of the study stated that more studies need to be done to prove the link exposure between chronic exposure to FCM and health diseases, which may be acquired in the long run. They perceive it as a difficult venture because there are no participants without exposure to FCM that can be included on the study.

The researchers said that it was very important to gather more information to discover the effects of FCMs. They said, “Since most foods are packaged and the entire population is likely to be exposed,” They added, “it is of utmost importance that gaps in knowledge are reliably and rapidly filled.”

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