Maine publishes food contact chemicals of concern list, postpones PFAS ban

US state of Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) publishes food packaging chemicals of high concern list; mandated by state legislation and limited to 10 chemicals; DEP postpones ban on PFAS in food packaging originally meant to begin in 2022; phthalate ban went into effect January 1, 2022

Scientists warn over-production of chemicals altering planetary systems

Peer-reviewed study finds pollution from synthetic chemical production and plastics is now altering planetary systems vital to human survival; recommends implementing cap on chemical production and release similar to greenhouse gases

Study characterizes chemicals present within recycled products

Scientific study characterizes chemicals contained in 210 consumer products made of recycled or virgin material regarding identity, functional use, structural class, and origin and prioritizes chemicals; 65% of chemicals with greater concentrations in recycled materials, along with a higher number of flame retardants, biocides, dyes, and fragrances in recycled materials

Whistleblowers claim EPA is hiding chemical risks

The Intercept reports four career staff members of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claim that the agency is hiding risks discovered in toxicological assessments of chemicals; plans additional follow-up articles to further investigate the claims

South Korean study investigates chemical exposures from food contact plastics

Scientific study examines chemical migration from seven types of food contact plastics available in South Korea; finds overall migration within national regulatory limits; considers estimated human exposures to terephthalic acid, acetaldehyde, 1,4-butanediol, and lead to be safe

Studies examine phthalate migration from PVC films and adhesives

Recent articles in scientific journals analyze plastic packaging and adhesive materials used in contact with food for phthalate content and migration; polyvinyl chloride (PVC) cling films and adhesive labels are source of phthalate contamination to food; food characteristics, e.g., structure of fruit peel, lipid content, influence migration level; recommend avoiding direct food contact to labels, minimizing exposure time

Studies investigate plastic packaging use, EDCs, and reproductive health

Recent research articles look at relationship between endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from packaging and human reproductive health; find no relationship between a woman’s reported use of plastic food packaging and pregnancy duration and birthweight; identify potential non-monotonic dose-response relationship between di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) exposure and woman’s reported infertility

Recommendations for a circular chemical economy

Paper in Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering analyzes sources of chemical losses throughout the chemical life cycle, suggests approaches to improve chemical circularity; losses include fugitive emissions in manufacturing, dissipation in field use, impurities and regulatory incompatibility interfering with recycling; propose two changes to chemical assessments to guide sustainable production and use

Study finds PFAS in 100% of sampled breastmilk

Environmental Science and Technology publishes study in which 100% of milk samples from breast-feeding mothers contained at least one of 39 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); Phased-out PFOS and PFOA were most abundant compounds but currently used short-chain PFAS such as PFHpA and PFHpA detected in majority of samples and becoming more common; The Guardian reports chemical companies hid risks about short-chain PFAS in food packaging

IPEN: Gender inequality and chemical exposure

New report by International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) highlights the effects toxic chemicals have on women, special vulnerabilities faced from toxic exposure; provides recommendations to safeguard the health of women, includes focusing on phasing out hazardous chemicals highly impacting women, preventing pregnant women from working with hazardous chemicals