News | Food Packaging Forum https://www.foodpackagingforum.org The Food Packaging Forum makes scientific facts and expert opinions about food packaging health accessible and understandable to all Mon, 25 Jan 2021 10:01:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GenX: developmental toxicant in rats https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/genx-developmental-toxicant-in-rats https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/genx-developmental-toxicant-in-rats#respond Mon, 25 Jan 2021 10:01:29 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328250 Study finds developmental toxicity in rats for hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid (HFPO-DA or GenX); exposure results in reduced pup birth weights, increased pup liver weight, and reduced neonatal survival; similar adverse effects to other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances; knowledge gaps regarding clearance rate and human half-life

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On January 21, 2021, news provider Chemical Watch reported on a peer-reviewed rodent study by Conley et al., that found hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid (HFPO-DA or GenX; CAS 2062-98-8) to be a developmental toxicant in rats – similar to other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The group of PFAS chemicals (FPF Dossier), including perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOA; CAS 335-67-1) and (PFOS; CAS 1763-23-1), have widely been reported to be associated with various adverse health effects, e.g., metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and adverse developmental effects in fetuses and children (FPF reported).

The GenX technology utilizes HFPO-DA instead of PFOA as polymerization aid in fluoropolymer production. The substance was invented with the premise of being “less toxic” and having “fast clearance.” However, in the EU, HFPO-DA is listed as a substance of very high concern due to environmental persistence and mobility.

In the presented study, HFPO-DA exposure resulted in reduced pup birth weights, increased pup liver weight, and reduced neonatal survival at dose levels below those inducing overt maternal toxicities. Furthermore, peer-reviewed toxicity data are lacking for HFPO-DA, especially about its human half-life which may be “significantly longer […] than in rodents.”

The authors state that PFOA and HFPO-DA display similar activities and potencies and conclude that “the role that exposure to HFPO-DA or other PFAS play in the manifestation of human metabolic disorders deserves further attention given the strength of data in animal and epidemiological studies”.

Read More

Emma Davies (January 21, 2021). “GenX has similar toxicity to PFOA, US EPA rodent study suggests.” Chemical Watch 

Reference

Conley et al. (October 27, 2021) “Hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid (HFPO-DA or GenX) alters maternal and fetal glucose and lipid metabolism and produces neonatal mortality, low birthweight, and hepatomegaly in the Sprague-Dawley rat.” Environment International

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NGOs request clarification on nanometal biocides in products https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ngos-request-clarification-on-nanometal-biocides-in-products https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ngos-request-clarification-on-nanometal-biocides-in-products#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 13:39:26 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328248 Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) with 12 other NGOs publish an open letter to European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) , request clarification on regulation and risk management of products treated with nanosilver, zinc oxide, copper biocides; antimicrobial resistance, human health effects unclear

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On January 21, 2021, the non-profit organization (NGO) Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) published an open letter in the name of twelve other NGOs to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), requesting clarifications regarding the regulation and risk management of nanometal-biocide treated products within the European Union.

Because of the COVID pandemic, demands for antiviral coatings and products have increased rapidly. This has led to a growing number of products on the EU market containing nanoparticles of silver (CAS 7440-22-4), zinc oxide (CAS 1314-13-2), or copper (CAS 7440-50-8) as a surface disinfectant for, e.g., masks, appliances, and packaging. Yet, it remains unclear whether this additional treatment is necessary and if it is safe. The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) pointed out that these additional routes of exposure to nanoproducts “may give rise to toxicological effects in the medium term and human health impacts cannot be ruled out.” Furthermore, the widespread use of such products could also contribute to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Currently, products treated with a do not need authorization even if the individual compounds are subject to authorization under REACH.

The authors concluded that “it is important to provide clarity on these critical issues and safeguard human health and environment.”

Reference

HEAL (January 21, 2021). “Letter: 13 NGOs write to EU Chemicals Agency with important questions on nano and biocidal-treated products.” (pdf)

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UV-328 qualifies for screening as POP https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/uv-328-qualifies-for-screening-as-pop https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/uv-328-qualifies-for-screening-as-pop#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 13:03:52 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328247 Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-16) meeting finds antioxidant UV-328 (TINUVIN-328) fulfilling all four criteria for screening as Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP) under the Stockholm Convention; next step is the preparation of a draft risk profile for the widely used plastic additive

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On January 17, 2021, the non-governmental organization International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) released a press statement about the 16th meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-16), which took place online on January 11-16, 2021. At this meeting, the 31 POPRC members decided that the chemical 2-(2H-Benzotriazol-2-yl)-4,6-bis(1,1-dimethylpropyl)phenol (UV-328/ TINUVIN-328/; CAS 25973-55-1) fulfills the criteria for screening as laid out in Annex D of the Stockholm Convention.

This means that UV-328 now enters the next steps of the assessment process, where a draft risk profile will be compiled and discussed during the POPRC’s next meeting in September 2021. The decision about listing UV-328 under Annex A (Elimination) would then be taken at a later stage by the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

UV-328 is used world-wide in high tonnages as a UV absorber in a large variety of plastics, coatings, personal care products, and food contact applications. However, UV-328 has been shown to cause damage to the liver and kidneys in mammals, and to have endocrine-disrupting effects, as described in a 2020 report by the Endocrine Society and IPEN (FPF reported). Therefore, in 2014 UV-328 was listed as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) by the EU and was added to the authorization list in February 2019. Addressing the problem of ongoing worldwide usage, the Swiss government in May 2020 submitted a proposal to add UV-328 to the elimination list of the Stockholm Convention on POPs.

In order for UV-328 to qualify for screening under Annex D as a POP, the POPRC committee needed to determine whether this chemical meets the Annex D screening criteria of (1) persistence, (2) bioaccumulation, (3) adverse effects, and (4) potential for long-range environmental transport.

Especially the last point on long-range transport has been challenged previously by the industry association International Council of Chemicals Associations (ICCA). Swiss experts had proposed that marine litter constitutes a potential long-range transport carrier for UV-328, as it has been detected in even remote geographical areas such as the Arctic and the Pacific Ocean – far from production and usage sides. Yet, the ICCA disagreed with this argument, and also other participants expressed concerns that accepting this hypothesis could “open the door” to classifying any plasticizer or substance that adsorbs to plastic as a POP.

IPEN Science Advisor Sara Brosché welcomed the result, stating the UV-328 decision “is especially important since it highlights that it is not only the visible plastic pieces that now contaminate even the most remote locations of the world, but also the invisible chemicals they carry.”

Brosché went on that this nomination could open up the convention to tackling other plastic additives as well, such as phthalates that have similar properties of bioaccumulation, toxicity, and long-range transport. A group approach for UV-328 could also be considered, as three other UV stabilizers with similar properties – UV-320, UV-327, and UV-350 – are regulated in Europe alongside the UV-328.

The next step in the process is to draft a risk profile of UV-328 that will assess the necessity of global action, which shall be discussed in September 2021 at the next POPRC meeting. A possible global ban could be realized earliest by 2023.

Read More

Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention (January 16, 2021).Big Year for chemicals & waste continues as UN experts take steps to recommend eliminating UV-328 (a toxic plastic additive).”

Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention (January 16-18). Sixteenth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC.16).”

International Institute for Sustainable Development (January 16, 2021).16th Meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee to the Stockholm Convention (POPRC-16).”

IPEN (January 17, 2021). U.N. Expert Committee Acts on Hazardous Chemicals in Plastics

Ginger Hervey (January 21, 2021).UN experts find that UV stabiliser meets criteria for POP.Chemical Watch

Ginger Hervey (November 10, 2020). Proposal to list UV stabiliser as a POP would set ‘significant precedent’, says ACC.Chemical Watch

IPEN (January 17, 2021).U.N. Expert Committee Acts on Hazardous Chemicals in Plastics

Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention (January 16, 2021). Big Year for chemicals & waste continues as UN experts take steps to recommend eliminating UV-328 (a toxic plastic additive).”

Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention (January 16-18).Sixteenth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC.16).”

Reference

International Institute for Sustainable Development (January 19, 2021). “Summary of the 16th Meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC-16) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants: 11-16 January 2021.” (pdf)

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Test finds majority of FCAs contain DEHP https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/test-finds-majority-of-fcas-contain-dehp https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/test-finds-majority-of-fcas-contain-dehp#respond Thu, 21 Jan 2021 15:27:12 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328246 Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI) finds endocrine disrupting chemical bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) in 48 of 60 (80%) of tested paper/board food packaging items; detects also dibutylphthalat (DBP) and Bisphenol A (BPA)

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On January 19, 2021, the non-governmental organization International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec) reported on testing by the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI) that found approximately 80% of tested paper and cardboard-based food packing items to contain the endocrine-disrupting chemical bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP; CAS 117-81-7).

KEMI tested over 60 different paper and cardboard-based items, including pizza boxes, hamburger wrappers, cornflakes boxes, and various kinds of beverage containers and cups for kids, of which 48 contained detectable amounts of DEHP.

DEHP is well-known for its negative effects on human health, including neurodevelopment (FPF reported). In addition to DEHP, the agency also detected dibutyl phthalate (DBP; CAS 84-74-2) and bisphenol A (BPA; CAS 80-05-7) as well as other chemicals.

All three compounds, DEHP, DBP, and BPA, are included on the EU’s REACH Authorization List which prohibits their use in products such as toys and childcare articles. Yet, the same chemicals are still allowed in cornflake boxes and other food packaging materials under separate legislation for food contact materials (FCMs). At the moment, the EU’s FCM legislation is being reviewed to address these and other problems in the current regulatory framework (FPF reported).

Read More

ChemSec (January 19, 2021)Testing finds that 8 out of 10 packaging materials for food contain highly toxic chemicals.”

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ECHA adds organotin chemicals as SVHCs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-adds-organotin-chemicals-as-svhcs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-adds-organotin-chemicals-as-svhcs#respond Wed, 20 Jan 2021 15:01:53 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328236 European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) includes dioctyltin dilaurate (CAS 3648-18-8) and several other organotin compounds to candidate list of substances of very high concern (SVHCs)

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On January 19, 2021, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced adding several organotin compounds to the candidate list of substances of very high concern (SVHCs) under REACH. This group of compounds includes dioctyltin dilaurate (CAS 3648-18-8) as well as stannane, dioctyl-, bis(coco acyloxy) (CAS 91648-39-4) and its C12 derivatives. Their addition to the SVHC list follows a public consultation held by ECHA in September 2020 (FPF reported).

According to the FCCdb resource (FPF reported), the organotin compounds can be used as additives and catalysts in the production of food contact plastics, coatings, silicones, and printing inks. These substances, however, have been linked to reproductive toxicity, including adverse effects on sexual function, fertility, and developmental toxicity in offspring.

Read More

ECHA (January 19, 2021). Candidate List updated with two chemicals that are toxic for reproduction.” 

ECHA (January 11, 2021). “Inclusion of substances of very high concern in the Candidate List for eventual inclusion in Annex XIV.” (pdf)

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“Plastic Health” web channel launched https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/plastic-health-web-channel-launched https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/plastic-health-web-channel-launched#respond Tue, 19 Jan 2021 18:20:40 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328230 Plastic Soup Foundation launches “Plastic Health” web series discussing latest scientific evidence; announces publication of expert opinions, interviews on hazards of microplastics, nanoplastics, and additives

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On January 12, 2021, the non-governmental organization (NGO) Plastic Soup Foundation (PSF) launched the “Plastic Health” web series as part of the research and advocacy alliance Plastic Health Coalition (PHC).

The channel aims to discuss the latest scientific evidence on the effects of plastics on human health and will publish expert opinions as well as interviews about the hazards of microplastics, nano- plastics, and their additives. In addition, tutorials to help find plastic-free alternatives will be posted.

The environmental dimension of plastic pollution is discussed widely, as pointed out by the Plastic Health Alliance by toxicologist Dick Vethaak. He notes that “however, plastics aren’t just an environmental issue, we are dealing with a human health issue as well.”

The first episode of the new series was broadcasted on January 13, 2021, and elucidates how recycled industrial waste such as carpets end up in playgrounds, sports fields, or horse arenas and may pose potential health risks as these recycled materials have been shown to contain harmful chemicals.

“These chemicals can be harmful in several ways,” says Majorie van Duursen, professor of Environment and Health at VU University, Amsterdam. “Some can be endocrine disruptors, and others can cause neurological problems. Some are carcinogenic or suspected to be carcinogenic. Some can affect your immune system. We know that young children, in particular, are very sensitive and very vulnerable to these effects.”

In reaction to the persisting knowledge gaps, members of the European Parliament Eleonora Evi and Francisco Guerreiro are calling for more research to be done, and quickly.

Read More

Plastic Soup Foundation (January 13, 2021). “Children’s Playgrounds Are A Source Of Toxic Microplastics.

Plastic Soup Foundation (January 13, 2021).How Hazardous Carpet Waste Ends Up In Horse Riding Arenas.”

Plastic Health Coalition (January 12, 2021). “Plastic Pollution Is A Human Health Issue.

Plastic Health Channel (January 12, 2021). “Toxic Playgrounds.” YouTube

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France to require EDC declaration in 2022 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/france-requires-edc-declaration-in-2022 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/france-requires-edc-declaration-in-2022#respond Tue, 19 Jan 2021 13:32:26 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328229 French government releases draft decree aiming to provide transparency on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in consumer products; sellers will need to provide product information to public platform; French ministries of Health and the Environment will release list of proven, presumed and suspected EDCs; decree expected to take effect on January 1, 2022

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On January 18, 2021, news provider Chemical Watch reported on a draft decree published by the French government that will require sellers on the French market to declare suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in their products.

In a second national strategy on EDCs, published in 2019, France announced the plan to reduce exposure to EDCs between 2019 and 2022 (FPF reported). An important aspect of this strategy is to better inform consumers about EDCs, however, so far, their declaration on consumer products has remained not mandatory.

Consequently, the French ministries of Health, Justice, and the Environment released the new draft decree, which aims to “provide citizens with transparent information on the presence of substances with endocrine-disrupting properties in products, in terms of substances, mixtures, articles, and food.”

According to the draft, sellers will need to provide details of their products and contained substances on a public digital platform. The information may include, e.g., product category, the trade name of the product, the chemical formula of the substance, and chemical abstract service (CAS) and European Community (EC) numbers of the substance.

The draft decree states that France’s competent authority for REACH, the Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (ANSES), will then determine which ingredients are to be classified as containing confirmed or potential EDCs. In the following, the country’s health and environment ministries will release a list of substances with endocrine disrupting properties, divided into two categories – proven and presumed – according to the level of scientific evidence. It will also create a list of suspected EDCs. Based on this information, products are to be labeled accordingly whenever they contain a listed substance.

The draft decree is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2022, and sellers will have 18 months to provide the requested information after the publication of the order.

Read More

Kathryn Carlson (January 18, 2021). “France to require sellers to declare EDCs in consumer products” Chemical Watch

EC (December 21, 2021). “Decree on the provision of information to identify endocrine disruptors in a product.

Le service public de la diffusion du droit (Feburary 2020). Code de la santé publique : Chapitre II : Produits et objets divers. (Articles L5232-1 à L5232-5).” (in French)

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Guide for FCM regulation in the UK https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/guide-for-fcm-regulation-in-the-uk https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/guide-for-fcm-regulation-in-the-uk#respond Fri, 15 Jan 2021 13:52:38 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328220 UK's Food Standards Agency releases food contact materials (FCM) authorization guide; no reauthorization needed for plastic or regenerated cellulose film additives authorized in the EU before January 1, 2021; application process for new substances will take up to 15 months; Northern Ireland will remain under EU rules

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On January 15, 2021, the law firm Keller and Heckman LLP (KH) reported that the United Kingdom’s (UK) Food Standards Agency has published a food contact materials (FCMs) authorization guide. The document outlines the procedure for authorizing new FCMs to be placed on the market in Great Britain (GB) following Brexit.

The guide explains how to apply for authorization of new FCMs and refers to several retained EU regulations. Four categories are considered for authorization of food contact materials with established positive lists and EU regulation: (1) plastic monomers and additives (Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011), (2) active/intelligent materials (Commission Regulation (EC) No 450/2009), (3) recycled plastic processes (Commission Regulation (EC) No 282/2008), and (4) regenerated cellulose film (Commission Directive 2007/42/EC)

Plastic or regenerated cellulose film additives that were authorized by the European Commission (EC) before January 1, 2021, will not need to be reauthorized by the UK authorities to be placed on the market in GB.

However, if an FCM application was submitted to EU authorities before January 1, 2021, but the application process has not been completed, then a new application will need to be submitted to the UK’s Food Standards Agency via their free application service. Applicants will also need to provide a sample to the UK’s National Reference Laboratory (NRL).

Active/intelligent materials and recycled plastics which have not been established in EU legislation may be placed on the market in GB if they meet the requirements of GB’s General Food Law Regulations and any general criteria in FCM legislation.

UK authorities foresee that the processing of respective applications including their risk assessment and establishment of risk management measures will take up to 15 months.

Northern Ireland will continue to follow the EU rules based on the agreements in the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is part of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement of October 17, 2019.

Read More

KH (January 13, 2021). “UK Announces Procedure for Authorization of New FCMs.”

Food Standards Agency (December 31, 2021). “Food contact materials authorisation guidance.”

Food Standards Agency (January 2021). “Apply for a regulated product authorization.”

EC (January 14, 2011). “COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 10/2011 of 14 January 2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food (Text with EEA relevance).

EC (May 29, 2009). “COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 450/2009 of 29 May 2009 on active and intelligent materials and articles intended to come into contact with food (Text with EEA relevance).”

EC (March 27, 2008). “COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 282/2008 of 27 March 2008 on recycled plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with foods and amending Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006 (Text with EEA relevance).”

EC (June 29, 2007). “OMMISSION DIRECTIVE 2007/42/EC of 29 June 2007 relating to materials and articles made of regenerated cellulose film intended to come into contact with foodstuffs.

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McDonald’s phases out PFAS https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/mcdonalds-phases-out-pfas https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/mcdonalds-phases-out-pfas#respond Thu, 14 Jan 2021 15:39:11 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328215 McDonald’s announces plan to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from all guest packaging materials globally by 2025

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On January 14, 2021, the US non-governmental organization (NGO) Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF) reported on McDonald’s announcement to remove the class of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from all of its consumer food packaging materials globally by 2025.

Many petitioners and NGOs, including SCHF through their national Mind the Store campaign, have been calling for this action (FPF reported) after a study had found PFAS in the food packaging of several big fast-food chains including McDonald’s (FPF reported).

PFAS in food packaging are mainly applied to improve an article’s resistance to grease, stains, and water. However, some studies have linked PFAS exposure to negative effects on growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children, in addition to other health effects e.g. causing cancer (FPF reported).

Over the past two years, many retailers have announced steps to reduce or eliminate certain toxic chemicals in food packaging. In December 2020, Amazon announced it will ban the use of 17 food contact chemicals including all PFAS chemicals in their packaging (FPF reported).

Mind the Store Campaign Director Mike Schade stated: “Because McDonald’s is the largest fast-food chain in the world, this action will help drive PFAS out of food packaging.” He further called on “other major fast-food chains like Burger King and Wendy’s [to] join.”

In the US, several states have already passed legislation banning the use of PFAS in food packaging, including Main, Washington, and most recently New York (FPF reported). Regulation on a federal level is also currently being considered, as US Representative Debbie Dingell introduced the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS ActH.R. 2727 in May 2020 (FPF reported).

For more information on other retailer initiatives and commitments, please refer to the Food Packaging Forum’s brand and retailers database.

Read More

Leigh Stringer (January 14, 2021). “McDonald’s to phase out PFASs from food contact packaging by 2025.Chemical Watch 

Jeanette Settembre (January 14, 2021). “McDonald’s to remove potentially harmful chemicals in food packaging by 2025.” Fox News

Stephanie Stohler (January 14, 2021). “McDonald’s announces global ban of toxic chemicals in food packaging.SCHF

McDonald’s (January 2021). “Packaging & Waste.”

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EFSA colloquium on micro- and nano plastics rescheduled https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-colloquium-on-micro-and-nano-plastics-rescheduled https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-colloquium-on-micro-and-nano-plastics-rescheduled#respond Wed, 13 Jan 2021 14:53:29 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328207 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) postpones colloquium on micro- and nano-plastics in food to 6-7 May, 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal

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At the end of December 2020, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced that the EFSA Colloquium titled “A coordinated approach to assess the human health risks of micro-and nanoplastics in food” has been postponed to 6-7 May, 2021 and is currently set to take place as an in-person meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.

The colloquium was previously  planned to take place in October 2020 (FPF reported) but has been rescheduled due to the COVID pandemic.

Registration for the event is set to be opened again in early 2021. For more information about upcoming events in the field, visit the Food Packaging Forum’s event calendar.

Read More

EFSA (December 2020). “New dates in May 2021! EFSA Scientific Colloquium 25 “A coordinated approach to assess the human health risks of micro- and nanoplastics in food.”

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Canada proposes grouping BPA analogues, alternatives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/canada-proposes-grouping-bpa-analogues-alternatives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/canada-proposes-grouping-bpa-analogues-alternatives#respond Wed, 13 Jan 2021 14:29:30 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328205 Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC) propose grouping 343 bisphenol A (BPA) structural analogues and functional alternatives under Chemicals Management Plan; request feedback on selection method and grouping until February 17, 2021

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On January 13, 2021, news provider Chemical Watch reported on a technical consultation launched by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC). The agencies propose the grouping of 343 chemicals related to bisphenol A (BPA CAS 80-05-7) under its Chemicals Management Plan (CMP).

Regulatory action on bisphenol A (BPA), and a shift towards BPA-free products, have led to increased use of alternatives, such as bisphenol S (BPS CAS 80-09-1) (FPF reported). However, these substitutes are often structurally very similar to BPA, which has been linked to a range of human health and environmental impacts including endocrine disruption (FPF reported).

According to the authors of the consultation document, there is an “ongoing need to consider the broader group of bisphenols.” The 343 substances were selected based on their structural and functional similarity and separated into 23 subgroups using tools such as the OECD’s QSAR toolbox.

The technical consultation is now seeking public comments on, among others, the methods used to identify the broader group of BPA analogs and functional alternatives as well as the proposed sub-grouping of substances.

Publication of the technical consultation document represents the first step in developing a problem formulation for structural analogs and functional alternatives for BPA. The public consultation is open until February 17, 2020.

Read More

Government of Canada (December 2020). “Technical consultation: proposed subgrouping of bisphenol A (BPA) structural analogues and functional alternatives.

Emma Davies (January 13, 2020). “Canada consults on grouping of 343 BPA analogues and alternatives.” Chemical Watch

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REFUCOAT develops recyclable, active packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/refucoat-develops-recyclable-active-packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/refucoat-develops-recyclable-active-packaging#respond Tue, 12 Jan 2021 14:25:41 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328197 EU Horizon 2020 Project REFUCOAT develops three packaging materials to reduce plastic waste and food loss, uses bacteriophage-based coating to reduce Salmonella proliferation in chicken breast, more efficient synthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and polyglycolide (PGA)

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On January 7, 2021, the plastic research and technology center AIMPLAS reported on the results of a Horizon 2020 Project. Three packaging materials have been developed that aim to reduce both food and packaging waste, specifically, for fresh chicken meat, cereals, and snacks.

The AIMPLAS writes that plastic packaging plays an important role in reducing food loss and wastage due to its superior physical properties (gas barrier, versatility, lightness, ease of handling, and strength). However, to protect food, plastic often requires complex multilayer structures. Many plastic packaging designs rely on use of films that are either difficult or costly to recycle. To reduce the negative impacts of plastic waste, the European Union’s 2018 plastics strategy determined that all packaging must be recyclable by 2030 (FPF reported).

The outcomes of REFUCOAT have been, among others, an active coating for food packaging films that use bacteriophage organisms to extend the shelf life of food products and provide a significant reduction in the proliferation of Salmonella in chicken breast samples. Furthermore, the project also focused on finding a more resource and energy saving production of two compostable  plastics, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) and polyglycolide (PGA) (CAS 26124-68-5).

Lorena Rodríguez Garrido, a Packaging Researcher at AIMPLAS, and the scientific coordinator of REFUCOAT, said:

“Packaging must be recyclable and must also maintain the barrier properties that help protect packaged food. Current packaging has a complex multilayer structure and is made from non-renewable sources. It provides all the protective functions but is difficult and expensive to recycle. REFUCOAT aims to replace current packaging with more sustainable, better-performing alternatives.”

The REFUCOAT project also held two interactive webinars last year to inform about the results and lessons learned from the three-year collaboration (FPF reported).

Read More

AIMPLAS (January 7, 2021). “European REFUCOAT Project develops recyclable food packaging and new active packaging systems against Salmonella.”

Karen Laird (January 4, 2021). “Innovative, bio-based active packaging systems tackle food waste problem.” Sustainable Plastics

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EU revises REACH restriction annex https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-revises-reach-restriction-annex https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-revises-reach-restriction-annex#respond Mon, 11 Jan 2021 14:51:57 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328196 New regulation updates entries within restricted chemicals list of REACH; removes substances now covered in separate law on persistent organic pollutants, adds toxicity classifications, updates standards for compliance with use of azo colorants

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On December 22, 2020, testing provider SGS reported on the publication of EU Regulation 2020/2096 that revises Annex XVII of the restriction of chemicals under the EU’s REACH regulation. SGS summarizes that the new regulation contains a range of changes regarding both the restricted substances as well as the language used within the regulation. These updates include:

  • Removal of several chemicals that are now regulated separately under the EU’s new regulation on persistent organic pollutants (POP) following the EU’s POPs Recast (FPF reported)
  • Revising language to align the regulation with that used in the EU’s regulation on classification, labeling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP)
  • Adding the classification of carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic (CMR) category 1A and/or 1B to multiple substances including three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as well as diisohexyl phthalate (DIHP; CAS 146-50-9)
  • Replacing the previous list of harmonized standards for proving compliance with use of azo colorants

The new law is set to come into force in several phases and be fully legally binding by October 1, 2021.

Read More

SGS (December 22, 2020). “EU Revises ANNEX XVII of REACH.”

Chemical Watch (January 13, 2021). “European Commission adopts amendments to REACH Annex XVII.

Reference

European Union (December 15, 2020). “Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/2096 of 15 December 2020 amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council.”

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Save Our Seas 2.0 Act becomes law in US https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/save-our-seas-2-0-act-becomes-law-in-us https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/save-our-seas-2-0-act-becomes-law-in-us#respond Mon, 11 Jan 2021 14:29:30 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328194 New US law provides annual funding for waste and recycling management, anti-littering campaigns, new Marine Debris Foundation, innovation prize; supported by chemical and plastics manufactures as needed infrastructure investment, criticized by civil society organizations as not addressing excessive plastic production as root problem

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On December 18, 2020, it was announced by the US White House administration that a Senate bill is known as the “Save Our Seas 2.0 Act” (S. 1982) was signed into law that focuses on reducing plastic pollution. News provider Waste Dive describes that the bill will provide $55 million per annum in funding to improve “local post-consumer materials management” including local recycling programs and to support waste management authorities. It would further provide $10 million per year to local governments and non-profits for programs creating “trash-free waters,” such as anti-littering campaigns. The bill further establishes a new national Marine Debris Foundation and an innovation prize.

While chemical and plastic manufacturers are reported as praising the bill as a much-needed investment at a time when exporting plastic waste is increasingly restricted, civil society groups have continued to criticize the bill as not addressing the real problem – excessive production of single-use plastics.

The new bill builds on a first version of the Save Our Seas Act passed in 2018. Since then, various drafts have been discussed in an attempt to reach an agreement on expanding the bill (FPF reported), and calls have been growing for the US to take concrete steps for improving its waste management and recycling infrastructure (FPF reported).

Read More

Katie Pyzyk (December 18, 2020). “Trump signs Save Our Seas 2.0, giving plastics recycling infrastructure potential boost.” Waste Dive

US White House (December 18, 2020). “Bill Announcement.”

Reference

US Congress (December 18, 2020). “S.1982 – Save Our Seas 2.0 Act.”

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ZWE estimates lower recycling rates for beverage cartons https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/zwe-estimates-lower-recycling-rates-for-beverage-cartons https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/zwe-estimates-lower-recycling-rates-for-beverage-cartons#respond Fri, 08 Jan 2021 14:46:19 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328158 Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) estimates recycling of beverage cartons for Germany, Spain, Sweden, and UK; uses EU’s updated recycling calculation methodology, finds results lower than reported previously by Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) ; ZWE recommends investment in reuse and recycling infrastructure, effective collection and sorting systems, widely recognized recyclability label

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On December 16, 2020, the non-profit organization Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) announced in a press statement the release of a report by Eunomia Research & Consulting revealing an incongruence between previously reported recycling rates of beverage cartons in Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

The industry association Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) previously reported higher recycling rates of e.g. 75% for Germany. However, this new analysis reveals for all analyzed countries much lower results for beverage carton recycling than previously reported by ACE, including a value for Germany of just 47.8%.

The authors used the EU’s updated recycling calculation methodology, which not only looks at recycling itself but also takes into account the product’s whole lifecycle, e.g. production (FPF reported). Beverage cartons can constitute complex composite materials whose recycling is quite challenging but can be technically possible where the appropriate infrastructure exists.

Joan Marc Simon, Director at ZWE commented:

“Whilst plastic has been in the spotlight for its low collection and recycling rates, this study shows that other complex materials such as cartons are not doing much better. With new EU-wide mandatory recycling targets and a new associated recycling calculation method, the EU must develop clear guidelines and methodologies to ensure real recyclability.”

To reduce consumer confusion, he suggests that: (1) producers of complex packaging should focus on a circular design process, (2) investments should be mobilized towards reuse and recycling infrastructure, (3) effective collection and sorting systems should be implemented, (4) a single, reliable, widely recognized recyclability label for packaging purposes should be developed. 

Reference

 Eunomia (December 2020). “Recycling of multilayer composite packaging: the beverage carton A report on the recycling rates of beverage cartons in Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK” (pdf)

 Read More

 ZWE (December 16, 2020). “Press Release: Beverage carton recycling rates substantially lower than reported.”

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Recycling of aluminum cans in EU reaches 76 % https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/recycling-of-aluminum-cans-in-eu-reaches-76 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/recycling-of-aluminum-cans-in-eu-reaches-76#respond Fri, 08 Jan 2021 10:36:35 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328156 Europäischer Wirtschaftsdienst (EUWID) reports aluminum can recycling increases 2% in Europe compared to 2018, reaches 76% corresponding to 457 000 tonnes; highest recycling rate reported for Germany (99%)

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On December 23, 2020, news provider Europäischer Wirtschaftsdienst (EUWID) reported that aluminum can recycling across European countries has increased to 76.2% – an increase of 2% compared to 2018.

Both industry associations Metal Packaging Europe (MPE) and European Aluminum reported that 34 billion cans were recycled in 2018, which corresponds to a weight of 457 000 tonnes. Apart from EU countries, the estimation also included Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland. Among all of these countries, Germany had the highest recycling rate (99%), followed by Belgium, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, and Luxembourg with rates varying between 93 and 98%.

Read More

EUWID (December 23, 2020). „Recyclingquote von Getränkedosen aus Aluminium steigt in Europa auf über 76 Prozent.“

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Which foods could use less packaging? https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/which-food-packaging-plastic-should-we-replace https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/which-food-packaging-plastic-should-we-replace#respond Fri, 08 Jan 2021 10:16:47 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328154 Study by Package Heroes project investigates plastic material content in food product categories and greatest potential for plastic reduction; finds reduction would have strongest positive impact for candy, ready-to-eat meals; data helps to focus research on specific product groups

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On December 18, 2020, the research project Package Heroes reported on an analysis that identified candies” and “ready-to-eat mealsas product categories with the greatest potential to reduce the amount of plastic in used their packaging.

So far, research has concentrated largely on finding novel solutions to replace conventional plastics as packaging material. However, finding materials with similar properties can be quite challenging, and replacement is not always applicable to every product category. This analysis was conducted to identify those product groups with a large content of plastics in food packaging and where a replacement could be highly impactful and support compliance with the EU’s Single-Use-Packaging directive (SUP) (FPF reported). The study also investigated whether the replacement would be sensible, e.g. not lead to a higher amount of packaging material in retail or transportation, disrupt recycling loops, or reduce significantly the shelf-life of the food.

Among the identified food product categories, a reduction of plastics was found to potentially have the strongest positive impact on candies and ready-to-eat meals. This is because in these groups the plastic-type varies significantly, and some are difficult to recycle and strongly affected by the EU’s SUP directive.

The project is funded by the Strategic Research Council functioning under the Academy of Finland and is set to run from 2019 until the end of 2023.

Read More

Package Heroes (December 18, 2020). “Plastics as packaging material could be reduced especially in the packages of candies and take-away food.”

Taina Lahtinen (September 2020). “Plastics as packaging material could be reduced especially in the packages of candies and take-away food – Package-Heroes.”

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EC report on biodegradable plastics in open environment https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ecs-sam-report-discusses-biodegradable-plastics-in-open-environment https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/ecs-sam-report-discusses-biodegradable-plastics-in-open-environment#respond Thu, 07 Jan 2021 13:11:03 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328151 European Commission’s (EC) Scientific Advice Mechanism publishes evidence report and scientific opinion, discusses potential benefits and limitations of biodegradable plastics; finds no silver bullet for inappropriate waste management or plastic littering, only for specific applications; appropriate formulation, coherent testing and certification standards needed to realize full potential

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On December 18, 2020, the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) announced the publication of an evidence report and a scientific opinion discussing open questions regarding biodegradable plastic’s fate in the open environment and their role in a circular economy. The advice is intended to define the main challenges and to inform society, consumers, businesses, and policymakers who aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste and pollution in the environment.

In the evidence review report, leading experts found biodegradable plastics could be part of the solution to solving this problem. However, many materials labeled as biodegradable only biodegrade in “certain, specific environments”, e.g. only composting facilities, and it is not clear whether they would also degrade generally in open environments. Whether, how much, and how long a material biodegrades depends not only on the material itself but is also very strongly dependent on which environmental conditions it is exposed to.

Therefore, the group of Chief Scientific Advisors recommends in their opinion piece that biodegradable plastics should not be seen as a silver-bullet solution for inappropriate waste management of plastic littering. Rather their application should remain limited to specific applications, e.g. tea bags, where food waste would contaminate plastic recycling streams. They further add “it would be better to reduce the amount of plastic we use — or to re-use it, recycle it, or, where we can, compost it in industrial plants.” These conclusions are in line with a recent panel discussion at the European Bioplastics conference (FPF reported).

Furthermore, the advisors recommended legislators should support the development of coherent testing and certification standards to realize the potential environmental benefits over conventional plastics. In addition, a supply of accurate information on the properties, appropriate use and disposal, and limitations of biodegradable plastics and their applications should be promoted to relevant user groups.

Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics (EUBP), agrees with the experts’ opinions that biodegradable plastics’ benefits will only be fully accessible if the plastic formulations are appropriate to the receiving environment. Moreover, he stated:

“If we are to realize the full potential of biodegradable plastics, the EU must put in place supportive measures to improve labeling, uphold and periodically review certification and standards, and facilitate communication on waste management. Consumers are seeking out sustainability more and more. However, they need to be helped with the challenges of delivering a circular economy through more effective waste prevention, recycling, and management measures including through organic recycling.”

References

EC (December 2020). “One-Page Summary: Scientific Opinion: Biodegradability of Plastics in the Open Environment.” (pdf)

EC (December 2020). “Executive Summary: Scientific Opinion: Biodegradability of Plastics in the Open Environment.” (pdf)

SAPEA (December 2020). “Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment: Report.(pdf)

SAM (December 2020). “Biodegradability of Plastics in the Open Environment.” (pdf)

Read More

SAPEA (December 2020). “New advice: Do biodegradable plastics bring benefits?

EC (December 2020). “Biodegradability of plastics in the open environment. Criteria for assessing the environmental benefits of biodegradable plastic applications.”

EUBP (December 17, 2020). “Commission’s SAM report confirms role of biodegradable plastics within a circular economy.”

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SusChem updates Sustainable Plastics Strategy Report https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/suschem-updates-sustainable-plastics-strategy-report https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/suschem-updates-sustainable-plastics-strategy-report#respond Wed, 06 Jan 2021 13:20:18 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328125 The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) publishes an updated version of sustainable plastics report; discuss challenges, scope, technical readiness, and impact; many projects still in the pilot or research stage

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On December 21, 2020, the industry association PlasticsEurope announced the release of the updated version of a sustainable plastics strategy paper (FPF reported) by The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) in cooperation with several industry partners.

The main strategies discussed in the report include “Sustainable-by-Design”, “Sustainable Recycling” and “Alternative Feedstocks.” The authors evaluated changes in the current stage of development of these technologies including mentioning challenges, showing their scopes, and evaluating the technical readiness level (TRL) and proposed impact of each project.

Specific targets of the technology readiness levels to be reached by 2030 have been set for some of the projects (e.g. mechanical recycling). However, two years after the first version of the document has been published, many actions remain in the pilot or research stage.

The report is intended to be a “living document” and present a “shared vision” to be updated on a regular basis that “demonstrates how collaboration within the plastic value chain can be a driving force for change” and what future research is needed to fulfill priorities of the EU’s Green Deal (FPF reported).

Industry associations that have contributed to the report include CeficPlasticsEurope, European Plastics Converters (EuPC), and the European Composites, Plastics and Polymer Processing Platform (ECP4). 

Read More

Karen Laird (January 6, 2021). “BPF launches ‘Sustainability in the Plastics Supply Chain’ report.Sustainable Plastics

PlasticsEurope (December 22, 2020). “Just released – “Sustainable Plastics Strategy” report.”

British Plastics Federation (January 6, 2020). “BPF Launches New Report: Sustainability in the Plastics Supply Chain.”

 

References

SusChem (December 18, 2018). “Plastics Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda in a Circular Economy.” (pdf)

SusChem (December 2, 2020). “Sustainable Plastic Strategy.” (pdf)

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US EPA restricts PBT substance PIP (3:1) https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-epa-restricts-pbt-substance-pip-31 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/us-epa-restricts-pbt-substance-pip-31#respond Wed, 06 Jan 2021 09:51:50 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328123 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues list prohibiting food contact chemical phenol isopropylated phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)) under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); EPA will ban processing, distribution and release in water of PIP (3:1); currently under assessment in EU for endocrine disrupting as well as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic properties

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On December 23, 2020, news provider Chemical Watch reported on a new set of restrictive rules for the substance phenol isopropylated phosphate (3:1), also known as PIP (3:1) (CAS 68937-41-7) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

PIP (3:1) is commonly used multi-functionally including, among others, as a plasticizer, flame retardant in consumer products, and a lubricant and hydraulic fluid. However, the chemical is a known aquatic toxicant, with the potential to cause reproductive, developmental, and neurological effects and to impact systemic organs like the liver, heart, and lungs. Therefore, the new rules were implemented to “protect human health and the environment because they address risks and reduce exposure to [persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic] PBT chemicals.”

Under the final rule, the EPA will prohibit the release of PIP (3:1) to water and will ban the processing and distribution of PIP (3:1) as well as of products containing it. There will be exceptions for its use including in e.g., recycling of plastic that contained the substance prior to being recycled.

According to the Food Packaging Forum’s recently published FCCdb database (FPF reported), PIP (3:1) is listed, among others, as part of Japan’s 2020 final positive list for additives and coatings for food contact plastics as well as Switzerland’s 2019 of food contact inks. PIP (3:1) is currently also under assessment by the European authorities as an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) and as a suspected PBT and a very persistent very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substance.

Manufacturers and downstream users are required to notify their customers about these new restrictions, and certain industries are being given an extended time to comply.

Reference

EPA (December 21, 2020). “Phenol, Isopropylated Phosphate (3:1) (PIP 3:1); Regulation of Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h).” (pdf)

Read More

Terry Hyland (December 23, 2020). “US EPA imposes partial bans on five PBTs.” Chemical Watch

EPA (December 22, 2020). “Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) Chemicals under TSCA Section 6(h).

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Microplastics found in human placenta https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/microplastics-found-in-human-placenta https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/microplastics-found-in-human-placenta#respond Tue, 05 Jan 2021 14:31:27 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328068 Research study finds microplastic in placentas of four healthy women, detected both on the maternal and fetal sides of the placenta, membrane in-between; particles could enter the women’s body through oral or respiratory exposure, potential long-term effects for the fetus to be investigated

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On December 22, 2020, The Guardian reported on a new research study in which microplastics have been discovered in the placentas of unborn babies for the first time.

A total of a dozen plastic particles was found in the placentas of four healthy women who all had normal pregnancies and births. According to the researchers, this finding is a “matter of great concern.” The authors argue that even though the effects on the body are unknown, there is an urgent need to assess this issue because these particles could contain chemicals with potential long-term adverse effects for the fetus.

The particles had sizes of about 0.01 mm and were detected on both the fetal and maternal sides of the placenta as well as in the membrane within which the fetus develops. The authors hypothesize the particles could have entered the women’s bodies through oral or respiratory exposure routes, for example from packaging, paints, cosmetics, or personal care products.

In the study, the researchers concluded: “Due to the crucial role of the placenta in supporting the fetus’s development and in acting as an interface with the external environment, the presence of potentially harmful plastic particles is a matter of great concern. Further studies need to be performed to assess if the presence of microplastics may trigger immune responses or may lead to the release of toxic contaminants, resulting in harm.”

Elizabeth Salter Green from the chemical-focused charity ChemTrust, said: “Babies are being born pre-polluted. The study was very small but nevertheless flags a very worrying concern.”

Reference

Ragusa et al (December 2, 2020). “Plasticenta: First evidence of microplastics in human placenta.” Environment International

Read More

Damian Carrington (December 22, 2020). “Microplastics revealed in the placentas of unborn babies.” The Guardian

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EU Commission plans EDC hazard classes within CLP https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-commission-plans-edc-hazard-classes-within-clp https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-commission-plans-edc-hazard-classes-within-clp#respond Tue, 05 Jan 2021 13:23:02 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328058 European Commission announces plan to create new hazard classes for endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) within the EU’s Classification, Labeling, and Packaging (CLP) Regulation; industry stakeholders criticize decision, call for addressing EDCs via REACH Regulation; civil society groups welcome change; further discussion planned for February 2021

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On December 17-18, 2020, the European Commission (EC) held its second Annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors as an online event. Featuring speakers from across the EC’s agencies as well as from national authorities, the OECD, and academic researchers, the forum focused on providing an update on the EC’s work to identify and regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). It featured presentations on testing methods, human biomonitoring, the EU’s completed fitness check of its legislation on EDCs (FPF reported), as well as the recently released chemicals strategy for sustainability that specifically aims to address EDCs in food contact materials (FCMs) (FPF reported).

One plan presented by the EC during the event that has received significant attention is to create a new set of hazard classes for EDCs under the EU’s Classification, Labeling, and Packaging (CLP) Regulation (EC 1272/2008). News provider Chemical Watch reports that the treatment of EDCs under the CLP regulation would then mirror that of carcinogens, mutagens, and reprotoxicants (CMRs) regarding the resulting classifications. Separate classes would be introduced for human and environmental health. Cristina de Avila from the EC’s DG Environment announced that this decision has been made and “the direction is set.”

However, this came as a surprise to industry stakeholders that were quick to criticize the plan. Blanca Serrano from chemical industry association Cefic commented that her organization was “under the impression that the discussion was still ongoing” and called for a “legal assessment” of the presented plan. Industry stakeholders have also argued that while they are supportive of implementing criteria to identify EDCs, this would be better accomplished within the existing REACH regulation rather than creating new hazard classes within the CLP Regulation. Exactly how to better implement EDCs within REACH has been an ongoing debate among stakeholders within the Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP sub-group on EDs (CASG-ED).

In contrast, civil society organizations have welcomed the plan to introduce the hazard classes under CLP. Natacha Cingotti from the EDC-free Europe coalition and Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) said that her organization is “particularly pleased with the plan to introduce hazard classes.” ClientEarth has argued that all sectoral legislation is based on the identification of chemical hazards, which is done explicitly within the CLP regulation.

While DG Environment has reaffirmed that “the political will of the Commission is clear,” stakeholders will have a formal opportunity to discuss the issue during the next scheduled meeting of the CASG-ED in February 2021.

Read More

EC (December 2020). “Second Annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors.”

Emma Davies (December 17, 2020). “Commission plans to mirror CMR CLP categories for endocrine disruption.” Chemical Watch

Luke Buxton (December 23, 2020). “Industry pushes case against EDC hazard classification under CLP.” Chemical Watch

Andrew Turley (December 10, 2020). “Cefic warns laboratory capacity could render REACH EDC plan unworkable.” Chemical Watch

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New EU rules restrict export of plastic waste https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/new-eu-rules-restrict-export-of-plastic-waste https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/new-eu-rules-restrict-export-of-plastic-waste#respond Tue, 05 Jan 2021 13:07:23 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328051 European Commission adopts new regulation banning export of hazardous and hard to recycle plastic waste to non-OECD countries from January 1, 2021; clean and recyclable plastic exports to only be approved under strict conditions; prior informed consent required for all intra-EU shipments

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On December 22, 2020, the European Commission (EC) announced that it has adopted a set of new rules under Regulation (EU) 2020/2174 restricting the movement of plastic waste. The rules ban the export of hazardous and hard to recycle plastic waste to non-OECD countries, as well as require prior informed consent from the receiving country for all intra-EU shipments of such waste. Exporting non-hazardous plastic waste intended for recycling to non-OECD countries will only be approved under specific conditions, including those set by the receiving country or via a prior informed consent procedure. The new rules entered into force on January 1, 2021.

Virginijus Sinkevičius, the EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, commented that “these new rules send a clear message that in the EU we are taking responsibility for the waste we generate. The export of plastic waste will only be allowed under very strict conditions. The export of unsorted plastic waste to non-OECD countries will be completely banned. This is an important milestone in fighting plastic pollution, transitioning shifting to a circular economy, and achieving the aims of the European Green Deal.”

The implementation of these new rules follows an agreement by members of the Basel Convention in May 2019 to introduce a prior informed consent procedure on the trade of hazardous and unrecyclable plastics (FPF reported). OECD member countries have not yet reached an agreement on how to implement this outcome from the Basel Convention across the bloc, and the EU has therefore acted independently in adopting these new rules.

Read More

EC (December 22, 2020). “Plastic waste shipments: new EU rules on importing and exporting plastic waste.”

CommonDreams (December 25, 2020). “EU Bans Exporting Unsorted Plastic Waste to Poorer Countries.” EcoWatch

Reference

EC (December 22, 2020). “Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2020/2174 of 19 October 2020 amending Annexes IC, III, IIIA, IV, V, VII and VIII to Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on shipments of waste.”

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OEHHA readds BPA as reproductive toxicant https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/oehha-readds-bpa-as-reproductive-toxicant https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/oehha-readds-bpa-as-reproductive-toxicant#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2021 14:48:12 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328044 Developmental endpoint added again to reproductive toxicity listing of bisphenol A (BPA) under California’s Proposition 65; ends eight-year long legal dispute between American Chemistry Council (ACC) and Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)

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On December 18, 2020, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released a statement in which it announced the re-addition of the developmental endpoint to the existing reproductive toxicity listing of bisphenol A (BPA; CAS 80-05-7) under the state’s Proposition 65 legislation.

This action marks the settlement of an almost eight-year-long legal dispute between the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and the OEHHA on whether the listing for the developmental endpoint under the Proposition 65 legislation is legal or not. In October 2020, the Court of Appeal rejected the ACC’s challenge (FPF reported), leaving open the possibility of seeking out a case review by the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the ACC did not challenge the final decision of the Court of Appeal, and therefore the OEHHA has reinstated the developmental toxicity endpoint to the listing of BPA.

According to the OEHHA, a complete, updated chemical list will be published in an upcoming issue of the California Regulatory Notice Register, and the update is already visible on the OEHHA’s website.

Reference

California Environmental Protection Agency (December 18, 2020). “Developmental toxicity endpoint reinstated for the listing of bisphenol-a (bpa) as known to the state of California to cause reproductive toxicity.” (pdf)

Read More

OEHHA (December 18, 2020). “Notice to Interested Parties Developmental Toxicity Endpoint Reinstated for the Listing of Bisphenol A (BPA) as Known to the State of California to Cause Reproductive Toxicity.”

Chemical Watch (December 23, 2020). “California adds developmental toxicity to BPA Prop 65 listing.”

Keller and Heckman LLP (December 24, 2020). “California Relists BPA as a Reproductive Toxicant Under Prop 65.”

OEHHA (January 25, 2013). “Notice of Intent to List: Bisphenol-A.”

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ANEC proposes alternative FCM regulatory approach https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/anec-proposes-alternative-fcm-regulatory-approach https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/anec-proposes-alternative-fcm-regulatory-approach#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2021 14:47:42 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328043 European Association for the Coordination of Consumer Representation in Standardization (ANEC) position paper criticizes industry self-control in food contact material (FCM) legislation; recommends set of guiding principles; includes significantly reducing number of approved substances and materials, requiring pre-market authorization for all substances in final materials including non-intentionally added

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On December 18, 2020, the European Association for the Coordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation (ANEC) announced the publication of a position paper reflecting on the current EU regulatory framework for food contact materials (FCMs) and proposing changes. The association argues that it has long been known that the current EU legal framework governing the safety of FCMs “is deficient and puts consumers at risk.” It points to the European Commission (EC) for doing too little over the years to address known issues, including (i) the lack of harmonization across materials other than plastics, (ii) failing to revise outdated heavy metal limits for ceramics, and (iii) implementing incomplete rules for printing inks.

ANEC writes that it believes “that the prevailing system of industry self-control in the field of food contact materials has failed and must be much reduced, whilst assessments by national authorities and [the European Food Safety Authority] EFSA – independent of industry – must be considerably reinforced.” It challenges the notion of private certification bodies being seen as independent, arguing that they “operate in highly competitive markets, and their commercial interests will always be in a permanent state of tension with their presumed impartiality.” It further criticizes the current widespread use of a ‘post-market’ surveillance system reliant on completing risk assessments from multiple actors (both private and governmental).

Instead, the consumer organization details an alternative approach in the position paper based on a set of principles. These principles include:

  • Significantly reducing the number of substances and materials used within FCMs
  • Eliminating substances of concern in all types of FCMs based on their intrinsic properties or on a case-by-case basis (e.g. for endocrine disruptors)
  • Requiring pre-market authorization for all substances and materials, including for non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) in final materials
  • Establishing an expiry date for all approved authorizations
  • Establishing systematic controlling of all authorizations, e.g. through internal quality checks and external product control by an accredited inspection body
  • Requiring manufacturers to pay for authorizations, renewals, and market surveillance through a fee system
  • Ensuring that any REACH chemical authorizations are only granted to individual applicants and for a specific use over a limited period of time. The current practice allowing anyone to use an authorized substance should be stopped.

The ANEC position paper was published on the same day as the inception impact assessment for revision of EU legislation of FCMs by the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) (FPF reported). The assessment is undergoing public consultation, and comments are being accepted until January 29, 2021.

Read More

Kathryn Carlson (January 7, 2021). “EU NGO calls on industry to pay FCM authorization fees.” Chemical Watch

ANEC (December 18, 2020). “ANEC reflections on the basic directions for the future development of the EU legislative framework on Food Contact Material (FCM).”

Reference

ANEC (December 18, 2020). “ANEC reflections on the basic directions for the future development of the EU legislative framework on Food Contact Material (FCM).” (pdf)

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Roadmap for EU FCM policy revision https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/roadmap-for-eu-fcm-policy-revision https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/roadmap-for-eu-fcm-policy-revision#respond Fri, 18 Dec 2020 21:42:39 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328038 EU Commission’s DG SANTE publishes Inception Impact Assessment as roadmap for revision of EU regulations on food contact materials; outlines eight main “issues” identified during ongoing evaluation, possible policy options to be considered by planned Impact Assessment; commenting period open until January 29, 2021

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On December 18, 2020, the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) opened a consultation on its inception impact assessment (IIA, which is essentially an extended roadmap) for the ongoing evaluation and revision of EU legislation on food contact materials (FCMs). The consultation is open until January 29, 2021. DG SANTE is set to host a webinar to present the roadmap on January 20, 2021.

 

Background context 

In the published IIA document, which can be downloaded from the consultation’s webpage, DG SANTE summarizes that “the basic provisions of the present EU [FCM] legislation were introduced in 1976 but until recently had never been evaluated.” Therefore, in 2018 the ongoing Evaluation of FCM policy legislation was initiated, starting with a first stakeholder workshop (FPF reported), which was followed by a public consultation (FPF reported) and a second stakeholder workshop (FPF reported). This still-ongoing evaluation covers both the general FCM framework Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 as well as several more specific FCM-relevant legislation pieces, such as Regulation (EC) No 10/2011 on plastic FCMs. The evidence and feedback collected by the EC so far have confirmed the existence of “problems that are linked to the absence of specific EU rules, which leads to uncertainty about safety of some FCMs and internal market problems.” Broad support for the need to introduce “further specific EU legislation” was expressed “by all stakeholders including EU Member States, the European Parliament, industry, and non-governmental organizations.” In addition, “several [other] fundamental issues present in the existing approach” were revealed. 

 

Problems intended to be tackled through revising the EU’s FCM legislation 

The IIA outlines the following 8 fundamental issues, which “relate both to the absence of EU specific measures (1) as well as various aspects of the current EU rules (2-8) as follows”: 

1. “Lack of functioning of the internal market and possible safety issues for non-plastics FCMs. The absence of harmonized EU rules for most FCM types results in “a lack of a defined level of safety and consequently no appropriate legal basis for industry to carry out compliance work.” In addition, difficulties with enforcement and control of imports are highlighted as accompanying challenges. 

2. “The positive authorized list approach and lack of focus on the final article. While some stakeholders view positive authorized lists as “advantageous,” it is also recognized that the use of positive lists can “bring practical problems and limitations” and result in “excessive burdens for public authorities and industry alike.” For example, “the creation of lists causes a significant obstacle to harmonization of rules for other materials such as inks, rubbers and adhesives.” An additional burden comes from the need to “re-evaluate certain substances when new scientific information becomes available.” Furthermore, current FCM assessments which are focused on the starting substances “do not sufficiently address the safety of the final product” and also do not consider “the actual potential use and lifespan of the final article and consequences of the aging of the material.” This approach “puts a disproportionate emphasis on starting substances, leaving the safety of the final material for the supply chain to resolve without clear rules,” DG SANTE concludes. 

3. “Lack of prioritization of the most hazardous substances and up-to-date assessments. It is noted that “the current EU legislative approach does not consistently prioritize the most hazardous substances in all FCMs” and there is also no mechanism “to swiftly take into account new scientific information” and results of substance assessments carried under other legislations (FPF reported). To address this, the EU’s new Chemicals Strategy “gives a clear commitment to take a more generic approach to regulating FCM substances whose properties give rise to the greatest concern, such as carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances (CMRs), those that act as an endocrine disruptor (ED) and those that are persistent and bioaccumulative (PBTs and vPvBs).” In addition, it needs to be assessed if this approach should be extended “to other chemicals with specific harmful properties.” Overall, there is a clear need for an “improved ‘one substance, one assessment’ approach.” 

4. “Exchange of safety and compliance information in the supply chain is poor and the ability to ensure compliance is compromised. It is emphasized that both the “physical sampling and analysis” and “compliance documentation” are “crucial” for establishing FCM safety. However, the exchange of information across the supply chain is currently “insufficient and not transparent enough.” Here, “integration of a more modern, simplified and digitalized system” into the legislation is seen as possible means “to improve accountability, information flow and compliance work.” 

5. “Enforcement of rules on FCMs is generally poor.” EU Member States currently encounter “difficulties . . . in enforcing FCM rules,” which relate “to both the lack of clear rules for non-plastic materials and the requirement to control the current EU specific rules, which are too technical, burdensome and challenging.” For example, “accredited methods are currently available for approximately only 20 substances out of around 400 for which there is a migration limit.” Overall, “controls on FCMs are not a high-priority for Member States,” and this “leaves a gap in the regulation and enforcement of many FCMs on the market,” DG SANTE concludes. “To some extent,” however, “this gap is filled by large food business operators with enough purchasing power to force their suppliers to comply with their requirements. 

6. “Rules do not sufficiently take into account the specificity of SMEs.” Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in particular are highly challenged by the existing FCM regulation system, because they do not have enough resources to ensure compliance with multiple non-harmonized rules and “are therefore restricted as regards the extent to which they can market their products across the EU.” 

7. “Rules do not encourage development of safer and more sustainable alternatives.” The existing EU FCM regulation “provides little or no basis on which to develop rules that support and encourage sustainable alternatives to packaging or ensure these alternatives are safe,” DG SANTE states. Furthermore, the current system “de-incentivizes innovation” because “many legacy materials and substances were authorized based on a less stringent risk assessment, while new materials and substances are subject to a steadily increasing level of scrutiny.” The revised FCM legislation also needs to address “recyclability of all materials and new technologies such as chemical recycling . . . in order for the EU to reach its ambitious recycling objectives,” DG SANTE observes. 

8. “The subject matter is not always clear and definitions need to be reviewed.” DG SANTE informs that “difficulties in determining whether certain products fall under the scope of the present FCM legislation” were mentioned by “around half of consultees” who provided feedback on the previous public consultation. These issues are partially stemming “from the challenges of predicting or monitoring consumer behavior and use of certain articles.” For example, it is not clear if a Declaration of Compliance is needed for plastic tablecloths. There are also further unclarities with regard to “FCMs that are regulated under other pieces of legislation, for example medical feeding tubes.” 

 

Basis for EU intervention 

The eight problem areas identified above justify the need for EU-level intervention “on grounds of subsidiarity and added-value,” since the current system was found to “(1) create different levels of safety for consumers, some of which may not be sufficient and (2) hinder the free movement of goods and create unequal and unfair competition,” and therefore the EU “can take action to achieve functioning of the internal market, including rules relating to health and safety, the environment and consumer protection.” 

 

Objectives and policy options 

The IIA summarizes that “the overall objective of the new initiative is to build a comprehensive, future-proof and enforceable regulatory system for FCMs at EU level that fully ensures food safety and public health, guarantees effective functioning of the internal market and promotes sustainability.” It also aims to create “equal rules for all businesses” and support them “in their ability to ensure safety of the final materials and articles.”  

DG SANTE informs that “a range of different possible [policy] measures is [currently] under consideration,” and these possible measures “will be evaluated and further consolidated as part of the full impact assessment” after receiving stakeholder feedback. The current discussion focuses on two broadly defined groups of possible measures “that cover all eight of the specific issues identified.”  

The first group includes measures that aim to “ensure the safety and sustainability of the final FCM” and thus principally concerns “problems 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8”; it is further divided into three subgroups (A-C) described below. The measures assigned to the second group aim to “ensure exchange of information in the supply chain, support for SMEs and enforcement of the rules” and thus principally concern “problems 1, 4, 5 and 6”; this group is further divided into two subgroups (D and E). 

A. “Shifting the focus onto final materials.” This option foresees the creation of “new EU specific rules which would refocus on the safety of the final material and/or combinations of materials, addressing their full characteristics and therefore all substances that may potentially migrate into food, instead of only starting substances.” The “level of safety that needs to be achieved” will be legally defined, and “clear rules on how to achieve this” will be set as well. This could be supported by strengthening and further developing rules on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). In addition, “industry would be required to determine how the goals would be achieved and implement self-regulation guidelines, customized for each of the concerned sectors.” 

B.Prioritizing the assessment and management of substances.” DG SANTE maintains that “the assessment of individual substances or groups . . . would still remain a key component of the overall safety evaluation and risk management options,” but “a tiered approach would be used to prioritize regulation of substances, according to a number of factors including their identified hazard properties, together with their use, migration potential and eventual exposure.” A greater emphasis would be put on protecting sensitive populations such as pregnant women and children, and on ensuring that “risk assessments take account of the most up-to-date available scientific information and are updated and revised appropriately and in a timely manner.” The respective roles of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will be further clarified to support the ‘one substance, one assessment’ approach. The “Tier 1 substances,” including CMRs, EDs, and PBT/vPvBs, will be assessed and managed via a “generic approach” which should consider “the essential uses of substances in FCMs.” The “Tier 2 substances,” defined as “substances with other properties of specific concern such as those in nano-form or those migrating in high amounts,” would require “a safety assessment using available expertise from EU risk assessment bodies.” The “Tier 3 substances” are defined as “substances that are more benign and migrate in low amounts.” To manage these substances, “an approach to support and guide business operators in their risk assessment would be developed.” 

C. “Supporting safer and more sustainable alternatives.” Here, the EC foresees introducing “specific rules to ensure that FCMs manufactured from less traditional and potentially more sustainable production sources and methods, such as those using plant or bio-based technology, are subject to dedicated and clear rules on safety to incentivize their use.” In addition, the EC would “expand rules to prioritize and support all forms of safe re-use and recycling, to exclude risks from contamination and to include all recycling technologies,” with the goal to “ensure consistency and coherence with legislation designed to protect the environment.” 

D. “Improving quality and accessibility of supply chain information for compliance and enforcement.” For this objective, the EC “would introduce clear and consistent rules on data requirements and information transfer throughout the supply chain, including a Declaration of Compliance for all FCMs.” The information system would be “fully digitalized” to make it easier both for businesses and for enforcement authorities. 

E. “System for ensuring compliance of the final FCM.” Here, the initiative proposes to “look at the possibility of making use in this area of delegated bodies . . . and /or of notified bodies tasked with conformity assessment.” This system “would be complementary, allowing Member States to maintain overall control of enforcement.” In addition, “further development of technical standards,” e.g. by the EU Reference Laboratories, will be explored. 

 

Options to be evaluated in the impact assessment 

During the planned impact assessment, “two fundamental options will be further evaluated . . . using the baseline situation as a benchmark,” and the focus will be on the “feasibility of the envisaged options” (that is, options A-E above) as well as on the “extent to which they solve the issues identified” (that is, issues 1-8 above). The baseline situation is defined as a “continuation of the current implementation of the existing rules” on the EU-wide and national levels. The two options include: 

Option 1: “Use the current regulatory framework (with Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 as a cornerstone)” 

Option 2: “Develop a new regulatory framework, replacing the current Regulation.” 

Further sub-options “may be developed when performing the impact assessment.” 

 

Impact assessment and further consultation activities 

The initiative to revise the EU FCM regulations “represents a major legislative proposal” expected to have a “significant impact,” thus requiring the performance of an impact assessment where all possible options and their likely impacts should be evaluated. The outlined types of “likely impacts” include: 

  1. likely economic impacts, e.g., decreased health costs due to higher consumer protection; improved competitiveness of SMEs and increased innovation due to simplification of rulesincreased costs caused by the introduction of additional harmonization measures, which are nonetheless expected to pay out in the long term; increased global competitiveness of EU businesses and “growth in materials that support sustainability.” 
  2. Likely social impacts, including improved health and well-being, facilitation of consumer choices, reduction of food waste, and increased “production of more sustainable materials.” 
  3. Likely environmental impacts, where a contribution “to the circular economy, plastics strategy and non-toxic environment” is expected and “reduction of waste and support for the use of materials including polymers that can be easily recycled and safely used again as food contact materials will be considered.” 
  4. Likely impacts on fundamental rights, e.g. potential issues with personal data protection arising from digitalization of the system. 
  5. Likely impacts on simplification and/or administrative burden, where a reduced burden is expected due to the emergence of “one set of simplified EU rules to follow,” as well as increased digitalization. 

The impact assessment will “run in parallel” with the evaluation process, which is still ongoing. It will benefit from already published studies, such as diverse fitness checks, the European Parliament’s report on FCMs, or the “baseline” study on non-harmonized FCM measures (FPF reported). However, more data are needed still, “in particular to compare the possible benefits such as effectiveness and efficiency of new EU rules compared with the current baseline.” Therefore, “further study work” will be performed “in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including Member States, business operators and consumer organizations.” Further consultation activities are foreseen, including a “12-week internet based public consultation” provisionally planned for the second quarter of 2021; a set of targeted consultation activities and interviews, tailored at specific stakeholders; and “stakeholder working groups . . . to complement the process, gather views on possible future legislation and ensure that all relevant interested parties are included.” 

 

Significance for other EU policies 

DG SANTE notes that “legislation on FCMs is directly relevant for the success of key Commission policies under the EU Green Deal (FPF reported), and therefore the recently published Farm to Fork Strategy committed “to revise the FCM legislation in order to improve food safety and public health” (FPF reported). Revision of FCM regulations is also crucial to the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) with its follow-up Plastics Strategy published in 2018 (FPF reported), which strives “to ensure packaging is re-usable and recyclable.” FCM policy revisions also “contribute to the ambitions of the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability towards a toxic free environment” (FPF reported). Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic has also “highlighted the importance of FCMs in safeguarding food supply chains and ensuring EU food security in times of crisis” (see FPF resources page).

 

Stakeholder responses to the IIA consultation are being accepted until January 29, 2021.

 

Read more 

Stefan Scheuer (January 8, 2021). “European Commission takes first step towards toxic-free food packaging.”

EC (December 18, 2020). “Revision of EU rules on food contact materials.

Chemical Watch (December 22, 2020). “European Commission eyes priority tier system for FCM chemicals.

Katy Askew (January 13, 2020). “EC kicks off food contact material revision: ‘Public health has been inadequately protected from toxic chemicals for too long’FoodNavigator

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ECHA RAC: New hazard classification melamine and BPS https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-rac-new-hazard-classification-melamine-and-bps https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/echa-rac-new-hazard-classification-melamine-and-bps#respond Fri, 18 Dec 2020 14:13:30 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328036 European Chemicals Agency’s Risk Assessment Committee (ECHA RAC) agrees on classifications of bisphenol S as category 1b reproductive toxicant, melamine as category 2 carcinogen

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On December 17, 2020, news provider Chemical Watch reported on the results of the December meeting of the European Chemicals Agency’s Risk Assessment Committee (ECHA RAC). It agreed on classifying melamine (CAS 108-78-1) as category 2 carcinogen and bisphenol S (BPS, CAS 80-09-1) as category 1b reproductive toxicant, following the proposals by Germany and Belgium under the EU’s Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regulation.

Melamine is a constituent of melamine-formaldehyde plastics, often used to make tableware and commonly referred to as ‘melaware.’ It is also a component of the so-called ‘bamboo’ materials, recently reported releasing higher melamine amounts compared to conventional plastics (FPF reported). In their proposal, the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) concluded that melamine is “possibly carcinogenic to humans” with “sufficient evidence in animals but not enough for definitive decision in humans,” hence the classification as category 2 carcinogen.

BPS is often used as a replacement for bisphenol A (CAS 80-05-7), which is a recognized reproductive toxicant and endocrine disruptor (FPF reported). The industry has self-classified BPS as a category 2 reproductive toxicant. In their report, the Belgian authority (FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment) concluded that the available data justifies classifying this substance as category 1B reproductive toxicant. In addition, Belgium is currently evaluating BPS as a potential endocrine disruptor under the community rolling action plan (CoRAP), with results expected in 2021.

References

BAuA (November 2019). “CLH report. Proposal for Harmonised Classification and Labelling. Based on Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP Regulation), Annex VI, Part 2 International Chemical Identification: 1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triamine; Melamine.” ECHA

FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment (October 2019). “CLH report Proposal for Harmonised Classification and Labelling Based on Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP Regulation), Annex VI, Part 2 International Chemical Identification: 4,4’-sulphonyldiphenol; bisphenol S” ECHA

Read More

Emma Davies (December 17, 2020). “Echa Rac agrees on classifications for melamine and BPS.” Chemical Watch

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Switzerland adds 53 substances for use in FCM inks https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/switzerland-adds-53-substances-for-use-in-fcm-inks https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/switzerland-adds-53-substances-for-use-in-fcm-inks#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2020 18:55:30 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328035 Swiss government revises list of allowed substances for food contact material (FCM) inks, adds 53 substances; allows only chemicals not in direct contact with food and if no migration possible; effective from December 1, 2020

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On December 14, 2020, news provider SafeGuardS (SGS) reported that the Swiss government (Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft) has released an updated list of substances allowed for the manufacture of packaging inks as well as a set of related requirements for use in food contact materials (FCMs).

The list, included under regulation RS 817.023.21, now contains 5’343 substances, which is 53 more than in the preceding list. The presence of these substances in FCMs is only allowed if the ink layers are not in direct contact with the food product. Furthermore, the migration of the ink substances into food from the food contact material or article should not be possible.

The regulation specifies that printing inks are only allowed to be produced from the substances listed under Appendix 2 and 10, in addition to salts of included acids, phenols, and alcohols.

The new list became effective on December 1, 2020.

Read More

SGS (December 14, 2020). ”Switzerland revises list of substances for food contact ink.”

References

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (December 1, 2020). “Verordnung des EDI über Materialien und Gegenstände, die dazu bestimmt sind, mit Lebensmitteln in Berührung zu kommen (Bedarfsgegenständeverordnung (in German)

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (December 1, 2020). “Anhang 10 der Verordnung des EDI über Materialienund Gegenstände, die dazu bestimmt sind, mit Lebensmitteln in Berührung zu kommen. Liste der zulässigen Stoffe für die Herstellung von Druckfarben und Anforderungen an diese Stoffe(pdf) (in German)

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (December 1, 2019). “Anhang 2 der Verordnung des EDI über Materialien und Gegenstände, die dazu bestimmt sind, mit Lebensmitteln in Berührung zu kommen. Liste der zulässigen Stoffe für die Herstellung von Bedarfsgegenständen aus Kunststoff und Anforderungen an diese Stoffe” (pdf) (in German)

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Petition urges US FDA to ban lead in FCMs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/petition-urges-us-fda-to-ban-lead-in-fcms https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/petition-urges-us-fda-to-ban-lead-in-fcms#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2020 12:32:23 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328034 Formal petition requests revision of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lead standards, calls for banning lead in all FCMs; argues simple measures could significantly decrease lead level exposure from food

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On December 9, 2020, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reported on a formal petition sent to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting a revision of its standards for lead in food and food contact materials (FCMs).

Lead is known to be harmful to brain development and promote heart disease, with diet being the main source of exposure for children in the US. However, apart from food itself, another route of lead exposure is through contaminated food contact materials.

The petition specifically describes how the FDA should, among other changes, ban lead as an additive in food contact materials and articles, including food packaging, processing or handling equipment, and cookware. The petition highlights that the FDA should especially focus on tin cans as well as brass and bronze equipment. According to the petitioners, the actions they outline in the petition are simple and would significantly drive down lead levels in food.

The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Vice President for Science Investigations, Olga Naidenko, said: “Even small amounts of lead harms the nervous system, especially for children. Exposure to lead causes lasting damage to the brain which is why it is essential to get lead out of food and food packaging. The FDA must take strong measures to make sure children are not exposed to lead from foods and beverages they love.”

Once the petition is out for public comment, the FDA will have to respond to it within 180 days.

Read More

Tom Neltner (January 11, 2021). “It’s time to eliminate lead from tin coating and solder on metal food cans.EDF

Tom Neltner (January 13, 2021). “Getting lead out of brass and bronze food equipment.EDF

Center for Food Safety (December 9, 2020). “FDA’s outdated lead standards put the public’s health at risk.”

EDF (December 9, 2020). “FDA’s Outdated Lead Standards Put the Public’s Health at Risk.”

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EU court confirms BPA as SVHC for endocrine effects on wildlife https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-court-confirms-bpa-as-svhc-for-endocrine-effects-on-wildlife https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eu-court-confirms-bpa-as-svhc-for-endocrine-effects-on-wildlife#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2020 11:15:20 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328032 Industry association PlasticsEurope loses third court case challenging legal classification of bisphenol A (BPA) as substance of very high concern (SVHC); EU General Court supports European Chemicals Agency’s recognition of BPA’s endocrine disrupting effects on wildlife

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On December 16, 2020, environmental law organization ClientEarth reported that the European General Court has ruled in favor of the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) 2018 categorization of the substance bisphenol A (BPA; CAS 80-05-07) as a substance of very high concern (SVHC) due to endocrine-disrupting effects on wildlife. The case was brought to court by the industry association PlasticsEurope. This is the third case PlasticsEurope has lost in the European courts over the regulatory status of BPA. The first was in July 2019 when the court upheld recognition of BPA as an SVHC due to being toxic for reproduction (FPF reported). The second was in September 2019 when the court dismissed the association’s case challenging recognition of BPA as an SVHC due to endocrine-disrupting properties in humans (FPF reported).

The court’s support for the recognition of BPA as an endocrine disruptor in fulfilling requirements for recognition as an SVHC is being seen as shaping an important pathway for other endocrine-disrupting substances to be classified as SVHCs. Apolline Roger, chemicals lawyer at ClientEarth, commented that “this is a crucial ruling. The recognition of BPA as a substance of very high concern for wildlife is not a box-ticking exercise, it paves the way for further restrictions.”

Read More

Alice Bernard (January 20, 2021). “NGO Platform: Bisphenol A court decision confirms Echa’s broad legal mandate.” Chemical Watch 

Client Earth (December 16, 2020). “EU court overrules plastics lobby, confirms BPA dangerous for wildlife.”

Andrew Turley (December 17, 2020). “European court clears SVHC decision on BPA for third time.” Chemical Watch

Reference

General Court of the European Union (December 16, 2020). “Judgement of the General Court (Fifth Chamber): In Case T-207/18.”

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EFSA: Draft opinion on NMDR open for consultation https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-draft-opinion-on-nmdr-open-for-consultation https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/efsa-draft-opinion-on-nmdr-open-for-consultation#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2020 07:53:13 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328030 European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) draft opinion reviews literature on assessment of non-monotonic dose responses (NMDRs), finds lack of standards for statistical approaches; suggests stepwise approach for ambiguous ‘apparent’ NMDRs; approach applied in two case studies finds no NMDR for bisphenol A (BPA) but does for di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP); open for comments until February 4, 2021

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On December 10, 2020 news provider Chemical Watch reported on a draft opinion on non-monotonic dose-response (NMDR) by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that is open for consultation until February 4, 2021.

The draft opinion represents a follow-up to an external EFSA review (FPF reported) which concluded that “… criteria for evidence of NMDR, evaluation of data and importance for risk assessment had to be further evaluated.”

In their current review, the authors found, among others, that there is a lack of standards for statistical assessment approaches, which may lead to diverging conclusions for risk assessments.

Furthermore, the authors note that when assessing different NMDR studies, for some cases, biological effects clearly indicate an NMDR and therefore are well covered by current risk assessment principles. However, they also observed ambiguous cases with so-called ‘apparent’ NMDR where studies detected only effects at the molecular level, but these could possibly also lead to adverse effects in humans.

For this ‘apparent’ non-monotonicity, the authors suggest a step-wise evaluation approach. The draft opinion suggests, among other recommendations, that further investigation is needed if the effects are present in the whole organism and not supported by further experimental work. It is also important whether or not a mechanistic sequence (e.g. an adverse outcome pathway; AOP) could be partially or fully established. If one has been established, then-current methodologies for risk assessment may need to be reevaluated.

In the draft opinion, this proposed approach has been applied to two case studies on bisphenol A (BPA; CAS 80-05-7) and di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP; CAS 117-81-7). The authors concluded that no indications of NMDR were detected for BPA, while there were indications of a biologically plausible NMDR for DEHP.

EFSA is calling for feedback on their draft opinion. The call for comments will remain open until February 4, 2021.

Read More

EFSA (December 2020).Have your say – draft opinion on non-monotonic dose-response.”

EFSA (December 2020). “Public consultation on the draft EFSA Scientific Committee Opinion on biological plausibility of non-monotonic dose responses and their impact on the risk assessment.”

Emma Davies (December 10, 2020). “Efsa seeks feedback on approach for assessing non-monotonic effects.” Chemical Watch

Reference

EFSA (2020). “EFSA Scientific Committee Opinion on biological plausibility of nonmonotonic dose responses and their impact on the risk assessment.” (pdf)

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Flexible film stakeholders consider toxic chemicals https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/flexible-film-stakeholders-consider-toxic-chemicals https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/flexible-film-stakeholders-consider-toxic-chemicals#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2020 13:09:17 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328029 Collaboration led by RCD Packaging Innovation brings together 80 representatives from flexible film packaging supply chain; focuses on addressing issues needed to achieve ‘waste-free future’; identifies migration of toxic chemicals as priority area with significant efforts still needed

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Over the course of nine months in 2020, stakeholders from across the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry collaborated within a workshop led by RCD Packaging Innovation on a framework to address both waste and chemical safety challenges of flexible films. The workshop aimed to bring flexible film stakeholders together to move the industry “towards a zero-waste future.” This included 80 representatives from CPG brands, resin producers, retailers, waste managers, film converters and extruders, and soil health experts. Outcomes from the discusses have been published in a separate white paper.

The collaboration featured presentations and discussion sessions across a wide range of topics relevant to flexible film packaging, including the importance of redesigning materials so they do not contain toxic chemicals. The group recognized that there is “growing awareness of packaging toxicity,” and participants identified the issue of chemical migration from packaging as a priority with highest importance and currently very low satisfaction. However, while education and resources on the issue were provided to participants, the workshop noted that “this issue remains enormous and unwieldy for this scope of work” with additional effort needed to systematically address it. Looking ahead, the white paper recommends that “step by step we can eliminate carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals from our supply chain.”

Read More

RCD Packaging (November 2020). “Redefining Flexible Films.”

Reference

RCD Packaging (November 2020). “Redefining Flexible Films: Innovation Workshop.”

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PlasticsEurope report on plastic demand and waste https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/plasticseurope-report-on-plastic-demand-and-waste https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/plasticseurope-report-on-plastic-demand-and-waste#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2020 10:49:42 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328027 Industry association’s annual report provides data on Europe’s 2019 demand for plastic and end-of-life management; presents consumption by country, resin type; identifies packaging as greatest demand sector for plastics; finds average European plastics recycling collection rate of 42%

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On December 10, 2020, industry association Plastics Europe announced the publication of its annual report presenting demand and waste data for European plastics production during the year 2019. The report provides a range of consumption data including plastic demand by country, product segment, resin type, and sector. The waste data provided describes trends of collecting post-consumer plastic waste as well as end-of-life processing rates by country and type (recycling, energy recovery, landfill).

The report identifies packaging as the product segment with the largest demand for produced plastics (39%), followed by the building and construction (20%), and automotive sector (9.6%). The resin types in greatest annual demand were polypropylene (PP; near 10 million tons), low-density polyethylene (LDPE; near 8.5 million tons), and high-density polyethylene (HDPE; near 6.5 million tons). Packaging articles made up most of the demand for these resins as well as for polyethylene terephthalate (PET; near 4 million tons).

Based on data from 2018, on average 42% of the 17.8 million tons of post-consumer plastic packaging waste generated in Europe is reported to have been collected for recycling, while 39.5% was sent for energy recovery (incineration) and 18.5% was landfilled. Since 2006, the report found that there has been a gradual shift from sending used plastic packaging to landfills towards recycling and energy recovery (a relative increase of 92% for recycling, 84% for energy recovery, and a decrease of 54% for landfills). The report further provides a more detailed set of waste treatment information for a select few countries including Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain. A section of the report also presents data on the use of Europe’s recycled plastic and found that 46% is used in the production of building and construction materials, 24% in packaging, and 13% in the agricultural sector.

Read More

PlasticsEurope (December 10, 2020). “Deep dive into ‘Plastics: The Facts 2020’.”

Reference

PlasticsEurope (December 10, 2020). “Plastics – The Facts 2020.”

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CoE resolution calls for harmonized EU FCM regulation https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/coe-resolution-calls-for-harmonized-eu-fcm-regulation https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/coe-resolution-calls-for-harmonized-eu-fcm-regulation#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2020 09:58:20 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328025 Council of Europe (CoE) releases resolution on safety and quality of food contact materials (FCMs); calls for harmonization of quality requirements and test procedures for chemicals in FCMs based on technical guides; recommends to implement measures reducing health risks from exposures

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On October 7, 2020, the Council of Europe (CoE) published a new resolution on the safety and quality of materials and articles in contact with food.

The CoE explains that it believes member states “would benefit from harmonized state-of-the-art quality requirements and test procedures” for food contact materials (FCMs). Given the current lack of harmonized legislation for many food contact materials (FCMs), the CoE’s resolution is recommending that member state governments adopt suitable legislation and other measures to reduce the health risks arising from human exposure to chemicals released from materials or articles with food contact.

The body recommends developing the measures with support from a set of guiding principles and technical guides published under the aegis of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM). The resolution specifically mentions that it does not prevent governments from maintaining or adopting national measures that implement stricter or different rules and regulations.

Read More

Council of Europe (October 7, 2020). “Resolution CM/Res (2020)9 on the safety and quality of materials and articles for contact with food.

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Report focuses on plastics, EDCs, and health https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/report-focuses-on-plastics-edcs-and-health https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/report-focuses-on-plastics-edcs-and-health#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2020 08:40:26 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328024 Guide developed by Endocrine Society and International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) informs public interest organizations and policy-makers about presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in plastics; explains impacts of EDCs on human health, considers economic dimension

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On December 15, 2020, the Endocrine Society together with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) published a guide on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and plastics for public interest organizations and policymakers.

Apart from introducing the reader to the most relevant aspects of the human endocrine system and some background on the origin of endocrine disruptors, the guide explains the many complex impacts EDCs can have on human health. These include effects on fetal development, the problem of multigenerational changes, and the relevance of EDCs exposure for the development of endocrine diseases.

The report focuses especially on EDCs found in plastics and, in particular, on bisphenols, phthalates, alkylphenol ethoxylates, nonylphenols, brominated flame retardants (BFRs), per- and poly-fluorinated substances (PFAS), benzotriazole UV stabilizers, and toxic metals.

With this guide, the Endocrine Society and IPEN intend to inform the public and decision-makers to support legislative changes. The report estimates that globally upwards of 23% of all deaths and 22% of human disability are attributable to environmental factors, with EDC exposures being one of them. The organization argues in the report that “… more efforts are needed to protect people and the environment from potentially harmful EDCs in plastics. Not all countries screen and regulate many known or potential EDCs and numerous compounds have yet to be tested for EDC activity and their impact on health.”

The guide also highlights and elaborates on key concepts of EDCs, for example, on the long latency between exposure and disease, how exposure to multiple EDCs requires new mixture models (FPF reported), and how EDCs can often exhibit non-monotonic dose-response curves.

In addition to public health concerns, the guide also introduces readers to the economic dimension, citing a study by Trasande et al., which concluded that “EDC exposures in the EU are likely to contribute substantially to disease and dysfunction across the life course with costs in the hundreds of billions of Euros per year.”

Read More

IISD (January 13, 2023). “Household Plastic Products Disrupt Endocrine System, Threaten Human Health.

IPEN (December 15, 2020). Plastics Pose a Threat to Human Health.”

Doyle Rice (December 16, 2020). ‘A serious threat’: Plastics we use every day are leaching hazardous chemicals, report says.” USA Today

Chemical Watch (December 17, 2020).Health science group report summarises research on impact of plastic on human health.”

References

Endocrine Society (December 2020). “Plastics, EDCs & Health: A guide for public interest, organizations and policy-makers on, endocrine disrupting chemicals & plastics.” (pdf)

Trasande et al (2015). “Estimating Burden and Disease Costs of Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union.Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (pdf)

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Using ToxCast data to assess food chemicals https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/using-toxcast-data-to-assess-food-chemicals https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/using-toxcast-data-to-assess-food-chemicals#respond Tue, 15 Dec 2020 08:21:24 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328016 Scientists explore the utility of-throughput screening data for hazard assessment and toxicological read-across of food-relevant chemicals; observe some biological targets to lack validated toxicity associations; demonstrate application in identifying out-of-domain compounds

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Tox21 and ToxCast (hereafter referred to as ToxCast) are two large US-based research programs where several thousand chemicals undergo testing in hundreds of in vitro bioassays. The data generated by this high-throughput screening (HTS) are being openly shared to enable external exploration and analysis aimed to advance predictive toxicology approaches. Two studies published this year by a group of academia- and industry-based European scientists have explored whether and how the ToxCast data could be used in the analysis of food-related chemicals’ safety.

The article by Ans Punt and colleagues, published on February 10, 2020, in a peer-reviewed journal Toxicological Sciences, investigated whether ToxCast data could deliver “mechanistic insights in the biological targets of food-relevant chemicals . . . grouped according to structural similarity.” The authors worked with a set of 556 direct food additives identified  by Agnes Karmaus within the ToxCast-tested chemicals (FPF reported). The study found that the identified chemical groups have been tested in a “limited number of [ToxCast] assays” only. Nonetheless, this testing delivered “sufficient results” for profiling these chemical groups for two types of biological targets, namely “DNA binding” and “nuclear receptor.” Many of the identified activities were related to the estrogen receptor-mediated actions. The authors concluded that HTS data “could add to the evidence considered for regulatory risk assessment of food chemicals and to the evaluation of desirable effects of nutrients and phytonutrients.”

In a follow-up article by James Firman and colleagues, published on November 30, 2020, in the peer-reviewed journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, the same group of 556 chemicals was used to explore how the ToxCast data could be utilized for toxicological read-across. In particular, the researchers addressed whether and to which extent “the HTS data could provide information enabling (1) the elucidation of underlying bioactivities associated with apical toxicological outcomes, (2) the closing of existing toxicological data gaps, and (3) the definition of the boundaries of chemical space across which bioactivity could reliably be extrapolated.”

With regard to the first two questions, the authors reported that many biological targets seen to be activated by the tested chemicals do not yet have any validated association to toxicity pathways. This deficiency currently limits the toxicological interpretation and practical application of in vitro tests. To address the third question, they focused on estrogenicity as a well-characterized endpoint and looked at it within the two exploratory case studies which focused “upon groupings of paraben-gallates and pyranone-type compounds” such as flavonoids. In both cases, HTS data was found to “reflect estrogenic potencies in a manner which broadly corresponded to established structure-activity group relationships.” This led the authors to conclude that HTS  data can indeed be utilized for “the identification of out-of-domain compounds,” thus helping to define the chemical space boundaries when performing read-across.

References

Punt, A., et al. (2020). “Potential of ToxCast data in the safety assessment of food chemicals.Toxicological Sciences 174: 326-340.

Firman, J. W., et al. (2020). “Exploring the potential of ToxCast data in supporting read-across for evaluation of food chemical safety.Chemical Research in Toxicology (published November 30, 2020).

Karmaus, A., et al. (2017). “Curation of food-relevant chemicals in ToxCast.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 103: 174-182.

Karmaus, A., et al. (2016). “Evaluation of food-relevant chemicals in the ToxCast high-throughput screening program.Food and Chemical Toxicology 92: 188-196.

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Survey asks EU-citizens for perspective on biomonitoring https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/survey-asks-eu-citizens-for-perspective-on-biomonitoring https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/survey-asks-eu-citizens-for-perspective-on-biomonitoring#respond Mon, 14 Dec 2020 16:03:11 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328015 The European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU) publishes survey on biomonitoring and chemical exposure; available in 20 languages; open until December 31, 2020

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On December 11, 2020, ChemTrust reported on a survey by the European Human Biomonitoring Initiative (HBM4EU), asking European citizens about their perspectives on biomonitoring and chemical exposure. Evidence of citizens’ exposure to chemicals and the possible health effect is important to support policymaking, such as restricting chemicals in certain uses.

The survey is available in 20 languages and will be open until December 31, 2020.

Read more

ChemTrust (December 2020). “New citizen survey on chemical safety and human biomonitoring.”

HBM4EU. “Citizen survey.

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Report advocates for improving chemical recycling LCAs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/report-advocates-for-improving-chemical-recycling-lcas https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/report-advocates-for-improving-chemical-recycling-lcas#respond Mon, 14 Dec 2020 10:59:15 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328008 Rethink Plastic Alliance reviewing four commonly cited life cycle assessments (LCAs) on chemical recycling; report identifies undisclosed data, flawed assumptions, questionable accounting methods; suggests LCAs should not be used for public communication or as the basis for political decision making or investment decisions, should be improved to be “more independent,” “transparent,” “comprehensive”

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On December 4, 2020, Zero Waste Europe (ZWE), a member of the Rethink Plastic Alliance (RPA), released a new report investigating the quality of life cycle assessment (LCA) studies assessing the environmental impacts of chemical recycling. The report voices concern over the current misuse of those LCAs for political decision making and calls for substantial improvement of study quality.

The latest ZWE report finds that chemical recycling technologies have been promoted to the public and policymakers as “being environmentally friendly, with claims that they can contribute to reducing environmental and climate impacts from plastic” by referring to such chemical recycling LCA studies.

To clarify these claims and better understand the environmental impacts of chemical recycling, this report reviews the four commonly cited chemical recycling LCA studies by BASF, Broeren et al. (2018), Eunomia (to be published), and Eunomia and CHEM Trust (FPF reported).

The key conclusion of the study is that businesses tend to present LCA results while neglecting the full context. Furthermore, the report identifies ten ways in which this set of investigated LCA studies use undisclosed datasets, flawed assumptions, and questionable accounting methods. The report explains that such approaches may provide misleading information on the environmental impact of chemical recycling technologies.

The authors of the report therefore provide a set of recommendations, including that:

  • LCAs on chemical recycling should not be used for public communication or as a basis for decision making or investments, but rather as a tool to support wider discussions. Even then, policymakers should treat them with caution when interpreting the calculated environmental and climate impacts, especially of comparative studies.
  • Substantial improvement of LCA studies on chemical recycling is necessary before new incentives are to be allocated by EU policies. They should be “more independent, transparent, comprehensive.” Furthermore, the authors pointed out that the results of an LCA should only be made public with the underlying raw data.
  • Funding should only support plastic recycling processes with a proven lower carbon footprint than the production of plastic from the virgin feedstock.

Chemical recycling technologies, especially those regarding plastic-to-fuel approaches, have been criticized widely for their environmental impacts and labeled as promoting false promises of being environmentally and climate-friendly solutions (see GAIA’s report (FPF reported) and Greenpeace’s report (FPF reported).

According to the newly released ZWE report, even studies assessing environmental impacts of the more benign plastic-to-plastic technologies have to be treated with caution, as there is currently no large-scale chemical recycling process for plastic in operation. Furthermore, chemical recycling remains a very energy-intensive technology with no current approach to achieving a positive net balance. Most importantly, high-quality LCAs of these technologies have been identified as difficult to obtain due to missing data, and LCAs are generally seen as easy to misinterpret.

References

Zero Waste Europe (December 2020). “Understanding the Environmental Impacts of Chemical Recycling Ten concerns with existing life cycle assessments.” (pdf)

Sphera Solutions GmbH (2020). “Evaluation of Pyrolysis with LCA – 3 case studies.” (pdf) BASF

Broeren et al (2018). “Chemical Recycling Study. How great – and what will be – the opportunities for climate policy? CE Delft (pdf) Dutch

Eunomia (2020). “Plastics: Can Life Cycle Assessment Rise to the Challenge? How to critically assess LCA for policy making.” Eunomia and CHEM Trust

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Amazon restricts 17 chemicals in FCMs https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/amazon-restricts-17-chemicals-in-fcms https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/amazon-restricts-17-chemicals-in-fcms#respond Fri, 11 Dec 2020 13:04:50 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=328000 Amazon announces ban on 17 chemicals in food packaging; includes per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), expanded polystyrene (EPS); restricted substance list (RSL) applies to Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Fresh, and Fresh grocery delivery

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On December 8, 2020, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families reported on Amazon’s newly published restricted substance list (RSL), which bans 17 chemicals for use in the packaging of its Amazon Kitchen brands. The commitment is in line with several recent policy changes, initiatives, and industry announcements, including the most recent bill signed by New York’s governor, prohibiting the use of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging (FPF reported). Amazon’s new commitment is the latest update to its “safer chemicals policy“, first launched in 2018 (FPF reported).

The action has been widely well-received among health campaigners and NGOs. For example, executive director of Toxic-Free Future Laurie Valeriano said, “no company should be using chemicals that can impair a person’s immune system, especially, as we are battling a worldwide pandemic [..].” She also said it is wise of Amazon to get ahead of regulatory bans that are going to come soon.

The restricted list includes the following substances:

  • Heavy Metals (Pb, Cd, Cr, Hg)
  • Arsenic (CAS 7440-38-2)
  • Ortho-phthalates (various CAS – all ortho-phthalates)
  • Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (various CAS)
  • Perchlorate (CAS 14797-73-0)
  • Bisphenol A (CAS 80-05-7)
  • Bisphenol B (CAS 77-40-7)
  • Bisphenol F (CAS 620-92-8)
  • Bisphenol S (CAS 80-09-1)
  • Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (CAS 1675-54-3)

In addition, Amazon also announced to prohibit six non-recyclable plastics for use food contact materials, namely, polycarbonates (various CAS), polyvinylidene chloride (CAS 9002-85-1), rigid polylactic acid (CAS 26100-51-6), and polyhydroxyalkanoates (various CAS).

The ban will be applied to all Amazon Kitchen brand products sold in Amazon Go, Amazon Go Grocery, Amazon Fresh, and Fresh grocery delivery.

Reference

Amazon (December 1, 2020). “Amazon Chemicals Policy: Food Contact Materials Restricted Substance List (RSL).” (pdf)

Read More

Lana Bandoim (January 13, 2021). “Amazon Bans Toxic Chemicals From Its Food Packaging.” Forbes Magazine

Stephanie Stohler (December 8, 2020). “Amazon announces ban on toxic chemicals and plastics in food packaging.” Safer Chemicals Health Families

Leigh Stringer (December 10, 2020). “Amazon publishes restricted substances list for food contact materials.” Chemical Watch

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Webinar series on human health impacts of chemical exposures https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/webinar-series-on-human-health-impacts-of-chemical-exposures https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/webinar-series-on-human-health-impacts-of-chemical-exposures#respond Thu, 10 Dec 2020 11:33:54 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327993 Collaboration on Health and the Environment (CHE) and University of California launch seven-part webinar series on cumulative impacts of toxic chemicals; aims to educate researchers, health professionals, policy makers, advocates and patients; addresses topics such as infertility, prenatal exposure

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On December 2, 2020, Environmental Health News (EHN) reported on the launch of a seven-part webinar series created through a cooperation between the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) and the University of California San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment and the Environmental Research for Health and Translation Center. The series will include presentations from experts examining various health impacts harmful chemicals and pollutants can have on male and female reproductive systems and child development, as well as addressing implications for reproductive justice, interventions, and policy implications.

Two webinars within the series were already held. The first on October 29, 2020, helped listeners explore the latest science on the generational impacts from harmful chemical and environmental exposures from preconception through the life course. In the second webinar held on November 18, 2020, the discussion revolved around racial and socioeconomic disparities in reproductive health in the US.

The next webinar will focus on infertility and is going to be held on December 10, 2020 at 1pm EDT. It will feature Russ Hauser, Jodi A. Flaws and Audrey Gaskins, who will discuss the question how chemicals and air pollution are harming fertility.

The remaining webinars are planned to be held monthly until Spring 2021 – registration is free of charge. Future webinar dates and published recordings can be found on the webpage of CHE.

Read More

Tracey Woodruff and Karen Wang (December 2, 2020). “WATCH: Top scientists explain how small exposures have a huge impact.” EHN

CHE (October 2020). “Generation Chemical: How Environmental Exposures are Affecting Reproductive Health and Development.”

CHE (November 2020). “Environmental reproductive justice: Racial disparities in environmental pollution and chemical exposures.”

CHE (December 2020). “Generation Chemical: How Environmental Exposures are Affecting Reproductive Health and Development.”

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CHEMTrust report reviews chemical recycling technologies https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/chemtrust-report-reviews-chemical-recycling-technologies https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/chemtrust-report-reviews-chemical-recycling-technologies#respond Wed, 09 Dec 2020 15:30:58 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327986 Investigates technologies within three categories for plastic recycling; identifies concerns regarding substantial energy use, waste plastic input quality, presence of hazardous chemicals; recommends lack of data transparency be urgently addressed before further investments are made

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On December 9, 2020, civil society organization CHEMTrust announced the publication of a new report investigating the development of chemical recycling technologies aimed at recycling plastics. Written by environmental consultancy Eunomia, the report focuses on understanding the performance and operating requirements for three general types of chemical recycling technologies: solvent purification, chemical depolymerization, and thermal depolymerization. For each technology, it investigates specifically the input material type, energy use, fate of hazardous chemicals present, use or generation of hazardous chemicals, amount of input material actually recycled, and a comparison with the performance and cost of recycling the material mechanically.

CHEMTrust comments that the investigation reveals “that these technologies in reality have major problems, including substantial energy use, a need for pre-sorted, good quality plastic input and concerns over hazardous chemicals.” The report itself emphasizes that key conclusions include that there “is a general lack of transparency or robust evidence base that can be used to verify claims or generate firm conclusions around the viability of many technologies” that were reviewed. It attributes this to the large number of small, lab-scale operations “that demonstrate possibility rather than viability.” The currently strong competition between recycling technology developers to be first on the market is also thought to be discouraging the release of information to the public. Eunomia argues that therefore “caution must be exercised as a lack of evidence can mean either a knowledge gap or that the answer is less favorable.” It identifies “an urgent need for more transparency within the chemical recycling industry.”

While the evidence seems to exist that at least some of the technologies reviewed could be promising, “important details around mass flows, chemical use and the viability of the processes in real-life waste management circumstances are largely incomplete.” The authors recommend that any investment into individual companies should be provided only to those that agree “to improve the understanding around these missing elements.”

This report follows the publication of other reports earlier this year by civil society organizations critically reviewing chemical recycling, including by GAIA (FPF reported here and here), Greenpeace (FPF reported), and Zero Waste Europe (FPF reported).

Read More

Michael Warhurst (December 9, 2020). “Chemical recycling: Is it worth the energy?

Reference

Eunomia (December 9, 2020). “Chemical Recycling: State of Play.” (pdf)

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ZWE report identifies climate benefits of reusable packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/zwe-report-identifies-climate-benefits-of-reusable-packaging https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/zwe-report-identifies-climate-benefits-of-reusable-packaging#respond Wed, 09 Dec 2020 14:35:13 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327985 Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) publishes study comparing 32 life cycle assessments (LCAs) to evaluate single-use and reusable packaging; finds reusable glass bottles have 85% fewer carbon emissions than single-use with highest impacts from transport; breakeven point reached after two to three reuse cycles; suggests five key measures to increase sustainability of reusable packaging

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On December 7, 2020, civil society organization Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) announced in a press release the publication of a new study finding that reusable packaging has 85% lower carbon emissions than single-use alternatives.

Single-use plastics are reported to represent 36% of municipal solid waste, and in May 2019, the EU announced a ban on some single-use plastic items (FPF reported). Current waste reduction efforts focus a lot on recycling as the main method to reduce the waste stream. Nevertheless, ZWE explains that this approach represents the least favorable of all waste management options after reusing, repurposing, or remanufacturing.

The aim of the published report was to “understand the benefits of reuse by evaluating the multi-layered environmental impacts of both single-use and reusable types of packaging through an in-depth comparative analysis of 32 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies.”

The authors found single-use glass bottles overall had the highest carbon emissions of all packaging types, a result also confirmed by a recent LCA study by Brock et al (FPF reported). Reusable glass bottles were found to have 85% lower emissions compared to single-use bottles, 75% fewer carbon emissions than single-use PET bottles, and 57% fewer carbon emissions than aluminum cans. The “breakpoint” of a reusable glass bottle, at which it begins to result in fewer carbon emissions than a new glass bottle, is already reached after two to three cycles of reuse. The carbon emissions emitted from the glass bottle’s production were also found to be entirely compensated for after 10 cycles of reuse. However, the authors recommend reusable packaging “be used as long as possible to further decrease the impact of the entire products’ life cycle.”

The report also compared the impacts of the individual life stages of production, transport, and end of life. Notably, the authors concluded that the distance and mode of transport have the largest contribution to a packaging’s environmental impact.

The authors suggest five key measures that can be taken to achieve higher “sustainability” of reusables: (1) increasing the addition of recycled content during production, (2) ensuring enough reuse cycles to compensate for the impacts from production, (3) ensuring recycling at the product end-stage, (4) implementing a stronger standardization of packaging, (5) reducing impacts from transportation by minimizing weight, substituting for a lighter material, and/or changing means of transport, and finally (5) widely implementing deposit return schemes.

Lead author Larissa Copello, consumption and production campaigner at Zero Waste Europe, commented that the report reinforces the need to stop looking at packaging as an essential asset to a product, and to start focusing on efficiency and rethinking the current way of delivering products to consumers.”

Read More

Zero Waste Europe (December 7, 2020). “Press Release: Independent analysis reveals reusable packaging up to 85% more climate-friendly than single-use.”

Zero Waste Europe (December 3, 2020). “Executive summary: Reusable VS single-use packaging – A review of environmental impact.

Reference

Zero Waste Europe (December 7, 2020). “Reusable vs single-use packaging, A review of environmental impacts” (pdf)

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FPF launches database on food brand and retailer packaging initiatives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-launches-database-on-food-brand-and-retailer-packaging-initiatives https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/fpf-launches-database-on-food-brand-and-retailer-packaging-initiatives#respond Wed, 09 Dec 2020 08:20:57 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327970 Food Packaging Forum (FPF) releases global database of initiatives and commitments by food retailers and brands to voluntarily improve their food packaging; includes efforts to improve chemical safety and resource efficiency beyond legal requirements; currently contains over 250 unique companies and associations, will be regularly updated

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On December 9, 2020, the Food Packaging Forum (FPF) published a new database containing initiatives and commitments by brands and retailers to voluntarily improve the chemical safety and resource efficiency of the food contact materials (FCMs) and articles (FCAs) they use. There has recently been a global increase in efforts by food brands and retailers to address growing consumer concerns about the presence of hazardous chemicals in food packaging as well as the environmental pollution caused by packaging waste. However, details about these efforts are spread across many different websites and reports, making them difficult to find and keep track of. To make this information more accessible to all stakeholders, the Food Packaging Forum has set up a new database to bring together key information about these efforts into a user-friendly and searchable format.

The online database currently contains summary information about initiatives and commitments from over 250 different companies and associations around the world that operate food brands (including food manufactures) and retailers (including stores, restaurants, and caterers). Links to FPF summary articles and external websites are provided to point readers towards more detailed information. The database serves as a factual resource that helps to recognize the progressive steps being taken by leading companies. It also provides a starting place for concerned consumers, civil society organizations, and government agencies to learn about packaging initiatives and commitments from the brands and retailers they engage with.

More information about the methodology used to develop and curate the database, as well as a fully searchable version of all included data is available on the database’s website. The database is intended to be a living resource that will improve and expand over time, and stakeholders are invited to suggest additional entries by completing an online form.

Reference

Food Packaging Forum (2020). “Brand and Retailer Initiatives Database.”

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EUBP panel: Biodegradable plastic’s contribution for climate-neutral economy https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eubp-panel-biodegradable-plastics-contribution-for-climate-neutral-economy https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/eubp-panel-biodegradable-plastics-contribution-for-climate-neutral-economy#respond Wed, 09 Dec 2020 08:06:58 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327979 15th European Bioplastics (EUBP) conference panel discusses role of biodegradable plastics in achieving climate neutral circular economy, argues application should be limited to waste collection applications; notes many composters still reject plastics, communication and clarification needed

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On December 1, 2020, participants of the 15th European Bioplastics (EUBP) annual conference could follow the panel titled “Handling of Composting Landscape – quo vadis?” During the panel, the speakers discussed which role compostable plastics will play in reaching a circular, climate-neutral economy and what obstacles currently hinder the acceptance of such biodegradable plastics. The conference brought together representatives from industry, academia, government, and non-governmental organizations.

Katharina Schlegel (team leader of Global Market Development Biopolymers at BASF) highlighted in her presentation that avoiding landfilling and incineration of organic waste could reduce our global carbon footprint by 1.4%. However, there is still a high organic content in residual waste in many countries (e.g. Germany 40%), and there is microplastic contamination in compost that needs to be addressed as it affects compost quality. Enzo Favoino (Chair of the Scientific Committee of Zero Waste Europe) added that the current recycling and recovery targets of 65% for 2030 for plastic waste, will only be obtainable if high organic waste separation is achieved. The organic content needs to be minimized in order to reduce costs and to accelerate the recycling rate of other materials.

Schlegel criticizes that many problems are currently not solved by pushing plastic producers to accelerate the disintegration of their compostable plastics. The main source for contamination does not stem from compostable plastics but other “misthrows,” meaning contamination from non-biodegradable plastics in the waste stream. This has also been shown by a recent report by Wageningen University under Marten van der Zee (senior scientist at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research).

Even with recent studies published confirming the biodegradability standards used for certifying all kinds of compostable products – there still exists uncertainty among composters. Facilities, therefore, tend to reject compostable plastics fearing for the quality of their product.

All panel participants agreed that biodegradable plastics play an important role in increasing waste separation and organic waste recovery, mostly as a tool to collect organic waste. It is, therefore, crucial to communicate well with the local composting facilities and identify and address sources of conflict.

Besides, it should be avoided to see compostable plastics as an “all-in-one solution” because they are not designed to solve, e.g., the littering problem. The panelists agreed on the question that compostable plastics can best be used in the context of collecting food waste and food scraps, such as biodegradable coffee capsules, fruit stickers, or teabags. Katharina Schlegel also added, “we should be careful not to harm already existing well-functioning mechanical recycling loops (e.g. PET) by adding a second biodegradable route to the agenda.” Van Maarten stated that we should be careful not to confuse consumers by unnecessarily including new applications in the list of biodegradable products as it may, in turn, encourage “misthrow.”

Reference

Maarten Van der Zee & Karin Molenveld (February 2020). “The fate of (compostable) plastic products in a full scale industrial organic waste treatment facility.Wageningen University Research (pdf)

Favoino et al (2020). “Bio-waste generation in the EU: Current capture levels and future potential.” Zero Waste Europe (pdf)

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ZWE biomonitoring detects phthalates, bisphenols https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/zwe-biomonitoring-detects-phthalates-bisphenols https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/news/zwe-biomonitoring-detects-phthalates-bisphenols#respond Tue, 08 Dec 2020 13:31:03 +0000 https://www.foodpackagingforum.org/?post_type=fpf-news&p=327961 Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) publishes results of analyzed urine samples from 52 European decision-makers and public figures; tests for 28 chemicals commonly used in single-use plastic food packaging, shows average of 20 detected in each person; calls for decision-makers to prioritize public exposure to food contact chemicals

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In a press release published on December 3, 2020, civil society organization Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) announced the results of a biomonitoring study investigating the presence of 28 chemicals commonly used in single-use plastic food packaging. This involved sampling and analyzing urine from “52 decision-makers, media personalities, public figures and artists across Europe.” The measurements were taken within the organization’s wider ‘Plastics in the Spotlight’ project that aims to “elevate the health impacts of plastic packaging to the top of decision-makers priorities in order to secure the adoption of a new comprehensive legislative framework for food contact materials in the EU.”

The 28 chemicals analyzed included a range of phthalate metabolites and phenols. On average, 20 of the 28 chemicals were detected across all collected urine samples. Individual results ranged from the detection of 18 to 23 of the investigated chemicals. Some of the notable participants in the study that provided samples for testing included the European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, European Parliament Vice President Heidi Hautala, ENVI Committee Chair Pascal Canfin as well as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Frédérique Ries. Details regarding the methodology behind the sample collection and measurement are provided in a separate background document.

Rosa Garcia, the director of civil society organization Rezero, commented that “this research adds to a growing body of scientific literature that proves the exposure of consumers to hazardous chemicals through single-use food packaging, notably plastic, and links this exposure to a number of diseases. Again, we are seeing that public health has been inadequately protected from these toxic chemicals for too long . . . This needs to be urgently addressed by decision-makers and packaging producers.”

The European Commission has recently committed to proposing a revision of current EU legislation on food contact materials by the end of 2022 (FPF reported).

Reference

ZWE (December 3, 2020). “Plastics in the Spotlight Project: Plastic food packaging chemicals & human health.” (pdf)

Read More

ZWE (December 3, 2020). “Press Release: Hazardous chemicals associated with food packaging found in the body – new research across Europe calls for a strong legislative response.”

ZWE (2020). “#PlasticsInTheSpotlight.”

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