Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dangerous chemicals in food wrappers likely migrating to humans

Date:
November 9, 2010
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
Scientists have found that chemicals used to line junk food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags are migrating into food and being ingested by people where they are contributing to chemical contamination observed in blood.

Popcorn popped in a microwave. PAPs are applied as greaseproofing agents to paper food contact packaging such as fast food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags.
Credit: iStockphoto

University of Toronto scientists have found that chemicals used to line junk food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags are migrating into food and being ingested by people where they are contributing to chemical contamination observed in blood.

Related Articles


Perfluorinated carboxylic acids or PFCAs are the breakdown products of chemicals used to make non-stick and water- and stain-repellent products ranging from kitchen pans to clothing to food packaging. PFCAs, the best known of which is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are found in humans all around the world.

"We suspected that a major source of human PFCA exposure may be the consumption and metabolism of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters or PAPs," says Jessica D'eon, a graduate student in the University of Toronto's Department of Chemistry. "PAPs are applied as greaseproofing agents to paper food contact packaging such as fast food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags."

In the U of T study, rats were exposed to PAPs either orally or by injection and monitored for a three-week period to track the concentrations of the PAPs and PFCA metabolites, including PFOA, in their blood. Human exposure to PAPs had already been established by the scientists in a previous study. Researchers used the PAP concentrations previously observed in human blood together with the PAP and PFCA concentrations observed in the rats to calculate human PFOA exposure from PAP metabolism.

"We found the concentrations of PFOA from PAP metabolism to be significant and concluded that the metabolism of PAPs could be a major source of human exposure to PFOA, as well as other PFCAs," says Scott Mabury, the lead researcher and a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto.

"This discovery is important because we would like to control human chemical exposure, but this is only possible if we understand the source of this exposure. In addition, some try to locate the blame for human exposure on environmental contamination that resulted from past chemical use rather than the chemicals that are currently in production.

"In this study we clearly demonstrate that the current use of PAPs in food contact applications does result in human exposure to PFCAs, including PFOA. We cannot tell whether PAPs are the sole source of human PFOA exposure or even the most important, but we can say unequivocally that PAPs are a source and the evidence from this study suggests this could be significant."

Regulatory interest in human exposure to PAPs has been growing. Governments in Canada, the United States and Europe have signaled their intentions to begin extensive and longer-term monitoring programs for these chemicals. The results of this investigation provide valuable additional information to such regulatory bodies to inform policy regarding the use of PAPs in food contact applications.

The study was conducted by Jessica D'eon and Scott Mabury of the University of Toronto's Department of Chemistry and is published November 8 in Environmental Health Perspectives. Research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. The original article was written by Kim Luke. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jessica C. D'eon, Scott A. Mabury. Exploring Indirect Sources of Human Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylates (PFCAs): Evaluating Uptake, Elimination and Biotransformation of Polyfluoroalkyl Phosphate Esters (PAPs) in the Rat. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2010; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1002409

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Dangerous chemicals in food wrappers likely migrating to humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140917.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2010, November 9). Dangerous chemicals in food wrappers likely migrating to humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140917.htm
University of Toronto. "Dangerous chemicals in food wrappers likely migrating to humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140917.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

Newsy (Mar. 29, 2015) A 508-million-year-old arthropod that swam in the Cambrian seas is thought to share a common ancestor with spiders and scorpions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

AFP (Mar. 29, 2015) Vietnam&apos;s drive to become the world&apos;s leading rice exporter is pushing farmers in the fertile Mekong Delta to the brink, say experts, with mounting costs to the environment. Duration: 02:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: New Eruptions at Colima Volcano in Mexico

Raw: New Eruptions at Colima Volcano in Mexico

AP (Mar. 28, 2015) The Colima Volcano in western Mexico sent large columns of ash up into the air on Saturday. (March 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins