In an article published on December 20, 2017 by non-governmental organization CHEM Trust, Charlotte Coquard brought attention to the fact that colored paper napkins may be a source of food contamination by carcinogenic chemicals such as primary aromatic amines (PAAs) known to taint some printing inks after being used in their manufacture. In 2016, a study by the EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) analyzed PAA content in napkins bought in the EU (FPF reported). Almost half of all napkins tested were found to leach PAAs at “surprisingly high” quantities, and half of PAAs detected are “considered toxic, carcinogenic or probably carcinogenic to humans.” Red, yellow, orange, and multi-color napkins were found to release the highest PAA levels.

CHEM Trust emphasized that napkins should not be used to store food (e.g., as wraps for cake slices), what is in line with recommendations given by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in summer 2017 (FPF reported). Furthermore, the organization called on its readers to “write to your government to ask them what they are doing to improve the regulation of chemicals in food contact paper, card and ink.”

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Charlotte Coquard (December 20, 2017). “Will you be using toxic napkins at Christmas?CHEM Trust