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Scientists: Dangerous Chemicals Are Seeping into Food

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 12:45pm
Lindsey Jahn, Associate Editor

Chemicals commonly used to package, store and process food may be leeching into those products and posing a public health hazard, according to a new commentary published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

According to CBS News, more than 4,000 known food contact materials, or compounds that touch food during the processing, packaging or preparation process, are currently in use. The researchers said that many of these materials have been studied in animals and are shown to disrupt hormones.

Some of the chemicals the scientists are concerned about include formaldehyde, a known carcinogen often used to make plastic bottles, and bisphenol A (BPA), which is often used in plastics and to line aluminum cans to prevent rusting. While people are constantly exposed to these chemicals, the researchers said the potential long-term impact of these substances has not been studied.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) released a statement dismissing the commentary, stating that the piece merely “strings together a series of scary claims about the potential for small amounts of chemicals to migrate from food packaging.”

The group pointed out that all food contact materials are reviewed for safety by the Food and Drug Administration, and that some scientists are already rejecting the new commentary.

The ACC said, “Presenting unfounded, inflammatory commentary as ‘science’ is a disservice to the public. Consumers can have confidence that the plastic food packaging they rely on has been rigorously reviewed for safety.”

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