Scientists from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary published new findings in the peer-reviewed journal Science of the Total Environment (Keresztes et al. 2013). In their “Study on the leaching of phthalates from polyethylene terephthalate bottles into mineral water”, the researchers investigated the effects of packaging material quality, packaging size, storage time, and temperature on the migration of four phthalates, including diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP). Using samples from 3 different brands, the study results showed that bottles made with 20-30% w/w recycled PET contained higher DEHP levels than containers made of virgin PET. DEHP was the only phthalate studied that was also found in virgin PET material, albeit at lower levels. Migration of phthalates was investigated in non-carbonated and carbonated water, however only in non-carbonated water phthalates were detected and quantified. Clear correlations between phthalate migration and storage time or container size were shown, factors well-known to affect migration. The observed effect of temperature on phthalate migration was unexpected, with higher levels found at lower temperatures. The authors speculate that phthalates are subjected to more rapid degradation processes at increased temperatures. The phthalate levels measured in the bottled waters were well below current EU specific migration limits (for DEHP: 1.5 mg/kg food).
Phthalates. Food Packaging Forum, October 4, 2012.
Keresztes, S., et al. (2013). “Study on the leaching of phthalates from polyethylene terephthalate bottles into mineral water.” Science of the Total Environment 458–460: 451-458.