"Food Packaging Leaks BPA, Phthalates"

"Most people don't worry about what's in food packaging, but the cans, boxes and bottles used as containers for everything from pop to microwave popcorn are an underappreciated route of exposure to synthetic compounds able to disrupt normal hormone functions, according to a new study.

The number of chemicals capable of interfering with hormones and permitted in packaging in the United States and the European Union is at least 50, the study said. The best known are bisphenol A (BPA), which mimics estrogen and is used to make polycarbonate, and phthalates, which are added to plastic to make it more flexible and is able to block the production of testosterone. Because food regulators around the world generally follow each other's leads, the list of chemicals would be largely similar in Canada.

Some researchers are worried that these chemicals are able to leach out of packaging, with possible health effects, much in the same way that the ancient Romans were inadvertently exposed to lead through their use of the dangerous heavy metal in water pipes."

Martin Mittelstaedt reports for the Toronto Globe and Mail July 6, 2009.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009