The Longterm Health Impact of Toxic Food Packaging

food packagingHeather Callaghan, Contributor
Waking Times

There once was a guy who wrote a book about his journey out of crippling brain fog. He warned that to get out of it he and others needed to use extreme caution about what they brought into the house. With gloves, anything he purchased was unwrapped and placed into more natural vessels like glass, wood and stainless steel. Furthermore, most of those purchases were avoided in the first place.

Does that seem extreme to you?

Researchers are slowly, surely and quietly admitting the cumulative effects of handling food packaging and eating its contents over the years. What are they, and what can you do? Without having to wear a biohazard suit, of course.

Food packaging chemicals may be harmful to human health over the long term caution environmental scientists in a commentary in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Sure it’s a commentary, but if this sounds like radical alarmist scaremongering let’s remember that researchers probably knew about these materials (approved as safe) from the beginning and, perhaps, due to consumer concern, more than mere chemicals are the things finally leaking out.

  • Synthetic chemicals used in packaging, processing and storing foods were approved as safe in minor doses, but those previous comforting messages hold nothing now. Not only have they come back to say “we were wrong” about that cumulative amount and its true metabolism in the body, but consumers in the last few decades have upped their intake of packaged foods. Not only do we handle those materials on a daily basis, but they leach into food, beverages and the environment because they are not inert. Its’ a problem that yesteryear’s more costly but reusable packaging (wood, glass, steel etc.) didn’t seem to pose. Our crops are often watered with the waste of those products as the recent incident with Whole Foods reminded us.

    So, aside from the processed and packaged food ingredients themselves, the people who eat those products are likely chronically exposed to low levels throughout their whole lives, said the authors. To be sure, little was done in the beginning for long-term testing or impact in the womb. They find that lifelong exposure to FCMs (food contact materials used in packaging, storage, processing or preparation equipment) “is a cause for concern for several reasons.”

    Known toxicants, such as formaldehyde (a cancer-causing substance) are legally used in these materials. Formaldehyde is widely present, in low levels, in plastic bottles used for carbonated drinks and melamine tableware.

    Secondly, other chemicals known to disrupt hormone production also crop up in FCMs, including bisphenol A (BPA), tributyltin, triclosan, and phthalates. BPA gets dropped for a more dangerous BPS and product labels can boast “BPA-Free!”

    The authors point out:

     Whereas the science for some of these substances is being debated and policy makers struggle to satisfy the needs of stakeholders, consumers remain exposed to these chemicals daily, mostly unknowingly.

    Thirdly, there are over 4,000 chemical substances used intentionally in FCMs!

    Furthermore, potential cellular changes caused by FCMs and, in particular, those with the capacity to disrupt hormones, are not even being considered in routine toxicology analysis, which prompts the authors to say that this “casts serious doubts on the adequacy of chemical regulatory procedures.”

    Seriously! Hormones and metabolism have been rarely studied until now – it’s as though basic anatomy and physiology were disregarded. Chemical in – chemical out. But that’s not how it works. The truly scientific miracle here is the survival of the human body under such chemical basting.

    They admit that establishing potential cause and effect as a result of lifelong and largely invisible exposure to FCMs will be no easy task, largely because there are no unexposed populations to compare with, and there are likely to be wide differences in exposure levels among individuals and across certain population groups. There goes the control group! Things like this are often introduced with questions asked later. The people are essentially the testing grounds, but with no control group “no one can say for sure” about the true damaging effects.

    They want some sort of population-based assessment and mammal-monitoring that they say are urgently needed to tease out any potential links between food contact chemicals and chronic conditions like cancer, obesity, diabetes, neurological and inflammatory disorders. Basically, more research needed into the impact of chemical constituents leaching into foodstuffs and the entire population has likely been exposed since most foods are packaged or processed in some way.

    That’s the scary warning part, but I beg to differ. Let’s not hold our breath for “more research” that, so far, has not overhauled the way we handle food.

    Here’s the empowering part: No one is bound with a ball and chain to buy packaged and processed food – you don’t have to handle all of that. We can buy in bulk at co-ops and CSAs, hit up the farmers markets or go straight to the farm. Find your food source here. By eating whole foods straight from the ground, you have a better chance at satiating with nutrients that can then in turn detoxify your body.

    Here are seven ways to drain some of these chemicals from your body. It was written with BPA in mind, but the natural ways listed can break down other materials. Goji berries are on the list to help with eliminating endocrine disruptors.

    Something especially helpful for those who are stocking up on packaged foods for preparedness or who simply want to nullify the bodily reaction to packaged food chemicals should look into NAET natural treatment. It’s a way to completely eliminate food and environment allergies and sensitivities.

    Study here:
    Food packaging and migration of food contact materials: will epidemiologists rise to the neotoxic challenge? 

    About the Author

    Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at and Like at Facebook.

    Image: Brown Machine food packaging

    **This article first appeared at**

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