In an article published on May 21, 2018 by the UK-based non-profit organization CHEM Trust, head of advocacy Anna Watson informed about a research project undertaken by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic scientists focusing on the issue of hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging. The project is led by the Food Packaging Forum (FPF) and was launched in August 2017 with six partner organizations (FPF reported).

“Plastic packaging is a source of chemical exposure to consumers and workers, as chemicals used in the packaging can migrate into foods and the environment during manufacturing, use, disposal and recycling,” Watson explained. During the initial project phase, the collaborating partners gathered data and identified over 4,000 chemicals that are likely or possibly associated with plastic packaging. Of 908 chemicals identified as likely associated with plastic packaging, 68 chemicals scored as “most hazardous for the environment” and 64 as “most hazardous for human health,” based on the harmonized hazard classifications assigned by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). However, “for many other chemicals there was no harmonized toxicity classification available, so this will not be a complete list of the most hazardous chemicals,” Watson noted.

Jane Muncke, the FPF’s managing director, stated: “There is . . . a massive gap in our knowledge relating to the presence of chemicals in plastic packaging, which is hampering our ability to protect human health and the environment from chemicals of concern.” Michael Warhurst, executive director of CHEM Trust, added: “This project is demonstrating the lack of openness about the chemicals used in everyday products, and the lack of adequate safety information for many chemicals.”

First results of the research project were presented at the SETAC Europe conference on May 15, 2018.

Read more

Anna Watson (May 21, 2018). “Hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging: An initial analysis.CHEM Trust

Tammy Lovell (May 31, 2018). “European researchers create database for chemicals in plastic packaging.Chemical Watch

Tammy Lovell (June 14, 2018). “European trade group says plastics database could ‘scare consumers.’Chemical Watch