The EU must take action on toxic chemicals in food packaging!
Plastic is not only harming the environment but is also endangering human health.
Plastics present in food packaging contain hazardous chemicals, including endocrine disrupting chemicals, which leak into our food, and make their way into our bodies. These chemicals can be, and must be avoided. We need decision-makers to take action on hazardous chemicals in the form of restrictions and new regulations for food contact materials (FCMs).
The Plastic in the Spotlight Project
This health research project looks to test urine samples for the presence of phthalates and bisphenols, chemicals commonly found in plastic packaging and that migrate to the food. The Plastic in the Spotlight Project is a follow up to the national level project initiated and carried out in Catalonia by ReZero from March to July 2019, to great success.
This year the project involves the following key partners, with the hope of spreading the message widely across Europe: Ekologi Brez Meja (Slovenia), Rezero (Spain), Za Zemiata (Bulgaria), ZERO (Portugal), Zero Waste Europe (Belgium) and Zero Waste Latvija (Latvia).
The Plastics in the Spotlight project tested 52 decision-makers, media personalities, public figures and artists across Europe for the presence of 28 hazardous chemicals. The aggregated results can be seen below. For further details on the project you can view our Press Release and Background Document.
The project aims to:
- Elevate the health impacts of plastic packaging to the top of decision-makers priorities in order to secure the adoption of a new comprehensive legislative framework for food contact materials in the EU.
- Put pressure on retailers and producers to switch to safer, reusable alternatives to toxic single-use plastic packaging.
- Inform consumers and individuals on the health impacts of plastic packaging to encourage them to make the safest choices for their bodies (while we wait for legislative action).
Help us get ambitious legislation on plastic food packaging chemicals by sharing the results of the project. You can use our social media pack to take action – and don’t forget to tag your parliamentary representatives! The more noise we can make, the better chance we have at protecting our health and the environment!
Plastic packaging includes a wide array of chemicals. Yet, many of the 12,000 chemicals used in the manufacture of food contact materials (FCMs) globally (over 8,000 in Europe) have not been adequately tested for toxicity.
These intentionally added chemicals, as well as 30,000 to 100,000 non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), have the potential to migrate into food from various FCMs, in particular food packaging.
Over 4,000 chemicals are potentially present in plastic packaging. Among those chemicals:
- 906 were identified as likely to be present in plastic packaging, and of those,
- 68 chemicals were identified as being particularly hazardous for the environment and
- 63 were identified as being particularly hazardous for human health.
- Out of those 63 chemicals, 6 are notably classified as substances of very high concern (SVHC), under the EU chemical legislation REACH, based on their toxicity for reproduction and their endocrine disrupting properties.