Recycled and reused food contact plastics are ‘vectors’ for toxins – study

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Article written by Tom Perkins, via on 27 May 2023

Recycled and reused food contact plastics are “vectors for spreading chemicals of concern” because they accumulate and release hundreds of dangerous toxins like styrene, benzene, bisphenol, heavy metals, formaldehyde and phthalates, new research finds.
The study assessed hundreds of scientific publications on plastic and recycled plastic to provide a first-of-its-kind systematic review of food contact chemicals in food packaging, utensils, plates and other items and what is known about how the substances contaminate food.
Some chemicals found in recycled plastics cannot be identified, the analysis notes, adding to the risk of repeatedly recycling and accumulation.
While 461 kinds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in virgin plastic, some 573 were found in recycled material.
The review also highlighted widespread “illicit” recycling in which industry uses non-food grade plastic made with flame retardants and other toxic compounds in recycled food packaging.

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