A Call for Epidemiologists to Study Food Contact Chemicals

(HealthDay News) — A population-based assessment and biomonitoring are needed to identify any potential links between food contact materials (FCMs) and chronic conditions, according to a commentary published online February 19 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Jane Muncke, PhD, from the Food Packaging Forum Foundation in Zurich, and colleagues reviewed the literature to argue that FCMs are a significant chemical food contaminant and that lifelong exposure is a cause for concern. They call upon epidemiologists to improve the knowledge on the role of food contact chemicals and disease.

The researchers say there is cause for concern because FCMs are legally used toxins and the total number of known chemical substances used intentionally in FCMs exceeds 4,000. Some like asbestos and formaldehyde are known toxins found in rubber and plastic bottles, while others like nonylphenol, bisphenol A, tributyltin, triclosan, and phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Epidemiological studies that incorporate questions about food packaging can measure migration of food contact chemicals into foods and strengthen primary prevention policies by reducing chemical exposures.

“The dearth of epidemiological publications on FCMs is surely not justified on scientific grounds,” the authors write.

The authors disclosed financial ties to the Food Packaging Forum.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)