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Impacts of food contact chemicals on human health: a consensus statement.

Journal article
Authors Jane Muncke
Anna-Maria Andersson
Thomas Backhaus
Justin M Boucher
Bethanie Carney Almroth
Arturo Castillo Castillo
Jonathan Chevrier
Barbara A Demeneix
Jorge A Emmanuel
Jean-Baptiste Fini
David Gee
Birgit Geueke
Ksenia Groh
Jerrold J Heindel
Jane Houlihan
Christopher D Kassotis
Carol F Kwiatkowski
Lisa Y Lefferts
Maricel V Maffini
Olwenn V Martin
John Peterson Myers
Angel Nadal
Cristina Nerin
Katherine E Pelch
Seth Rojello Fernández
Robert M Sargis
Ana M Soto
Leonardo Trasande
Laura N Vandenberg
Martin Wagner
Changqing Wu
R Thomas Zoeller
Martin Scheringer
Published in Environmental health : a global access science source
Volume 19
Issue 1
ISSN 1476-069X
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-020-0572-...
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...
Subject categories Other Natural Sciences, Environmental medicine, Toxicology

Abstract

Food packaging is of high societal value because it conserves and protects food, makes food transportable and conveys information to consumers. It is also relevant for marketing, which is of economic significance. Other types of food contact articles, such as storage containers, processing equipment and filling lines, are also important for food production and food supply. Food contact articles are made up of one or multiple different food contact materials and consist of food contact chemicals. However, food contact chemicals transfer from all types of food contact materials and articles into food and, consequently, are taken up by humans. Here we highlight topics of concern based on scientific findings showing that food contact materials and articles are a relevant exposure pathway for known hazardous substances as well as for a plethora of toxicologically uncharacterized chemicals, both intentionally and non-intentionally added. We describe areas of certainty, like the fact that chemicals migrate from food contact articles into food, and uncertainty, for example unidentified chemicals migrating into food. Current safety assessment of food contact chemicals is ineffective at protecting human health. In addition, society is striving for waste reduction with a focus on food packaging. As a result, solutions are being developed toward reuse, recycling or alternative (non-plastic) materials. However, the critical aspect of chemical safety is often ignored. Developing solutions for improving the safety of food contact chemicals and for tackling the circular economy must include current scientific knowledge. This cannot be done in isolation but must include all relevant experts and stakeholders. Therefore, we provide an overview of areas of concern and related activities that will improve the safety of food contact articles and support a circular economy. Our aim is to initiate a broader discussion involving scientists with relevant expertise but not currently working on food contact materials, and decision makers and influencers addressing single-use food packaging due to environmental concerns. Ultimately, we aim to support science-based decision making in the interest of improving public health. Notably, reducing exposure to hazardous food contact chemicals contributes to the prevention of associated chronic diseases in the human population.

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