What’s in the Package?
Read any packaged food or beverage ingredient label and you probably won’t see chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid, styrene, bisphenol A, or dibutyl phthalate – but you may be eating them or thousands of other chemicals used in the packaging.
That’s because many of the 4000-6000 chemicals used in food packaging migrate into the food or liquid they hold. The chemicals also leach into the environment when they are disposed of, contaminating water, air, and soil.
It is hard to know which chemicals consumers and the environment are being exposed to or what the effects are because under US law, companies don’t have to tell you what is in the packaging and because little to no safety review is done on the chemicals that are used. In fact, the companies can decide that a chemical is “safe” without any government oversight.
Recent independent studies, however, have shown that some of the most common food packaging chemicals are linked to cancer, endocrine (hormonal) disruption, and reproductive toxicity – to name just a few of the health impacts. Similar endocrine and reproductive effects have been seen in wildlife from environmental exposure.
Clean Water Action’s What’s In The Package? campaign is a call for transparency about the food packaging chemicals that contaminate our food and environment by putting them on the label. This will not only allow consumers to make safer choices, but will act as a catalyst for change when companies, not wanting to tell their customers that there is a toxic chemical in their product, will move to safer alternatives.