Chemicals In Plastics Far More Numerous Than Previous Estimates: Report

"LONDON - At least 3,000 more chemicals are in plastics — from food packaging to toys to medical devices — than previously estimated by environmental agencies, a report published on Thursday found, raising questions over pollution and consumer safety.

While the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had previously identified around 13,000 plastic chemicals, the report by a team of European scientists found more than 16,000 chemicals in plastics — a quarter of which are thought to be hazardous to human health and the environment.

The report, funded by the Norwegian Research Council, comes as government negotiators grapple with devising the world's first treaty to tackle mounting plastic pollution, as some 400 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced every year.

"To robustly solve plastic pollution, you actually have to look at the full life cycle of plastics and you have to address the chemicals issue," said report co-author Jane Muncke, managing director of the Swiss nonprofit Food Packaging Forum."

Gloria Dickie reports for Reuters March 14, 2024.

Source: Reuters, 03/15/2024