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Published on July 14th, 2014 | by Becky Striepe


175 Harmful Chemicals in Food Packaging (+ how to avoid them)

175 Harmful Chemicals in Food Packaging (+ how to avoid them)

A new study looked at common chemicals used in the food industry and found 175 harmful chemicals in food packaging that could be leaching into our food.

The study comes from the Food Packaging Forum. It compared several lists of toxic chemicals to the chemicals in food packaging and found 175 matches. Yikes.

You can vies the pdf list of all 175 harmful chemicals in food packaging here.

That’s a long list. Here are a few of the harmful chemicals that popped out at me:

+ BPA (bisphenol A), BPB (bisphenol B), and BPS (bisphenol S)suspected endocrine disruptors

+ Phthalateshormone disruptors linked to a number of human health issues

+ Toluenea neurotoxin

+ Antimony trioxidea flame retardant linked to lung tumors

The trouble with finding these harmful chemicals in food packaging is that they don’t necessarily stay in the packaging. Carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and other dangerous substances on the list linked above can leach from the packaging into our food. That is no good.

We’ve talked about harmful chemicals in food packaging before, but this list sheds new light on the need for food packaging reform.

Related: PFCs in Fast Food Wrappers, Is there BPA in your canning jar?

With studies like these, you need to wonder where the funding came from, and Food Packaging Forum is very transparent about that on its about page. They do receive donations, but they say that these donations do not influence their findings. They also disclose their funding sources.

Avoiding Harmful Chemicals in Food Packaging

The best way to avoid chemicals in food packaging is to avoid processed and packaged food. The more whole your food, the fewer pieces of food packaging it comes into contact with.

When you’re at the store, shopping for loose bulk bin and produce items is the best way to minimize your food’s contact with packaging. Bring your own reusable produce bag, so you can skip the flimsy plastic produce bags that contain some of the harmful chemicals on this study’s list.

Of course, eating a 100 percent whole food diet is unattainable for most people. We work, we have families, and we can’t spend all day in the kitchen preparing each meal lovingly from scratch. All that we can do is our best.

What we really need is chemical reform. One way that you can help is by supporting groups like Safer Chemicals that are actively pushing Congress and corporations to get harmful chemicals out of food packaging and out of our homes.

Image Credit: Pasta photo via Shutterstock

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

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