Article of Interest: Food Contact Chemicals and Their hazards

Our team at the Hoffman Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) Program at UT Health San Antonio wanted to share this article via Science Direct.

As reported in the journal Environment International, European and U.S. researchers systematically compiled a database of more than 12,000 intentionally used chemicals that can contact the food we eat.

Food contact materials (FCMs) can be defined as materials that come into contact with food and beverages during food processing, packaging, transport, storage, cooking, or serving. Different types of FCMs, for example, plastics, paper, glass, metal, adhesives, or printing inks, can be used, solely or in combination, to produce food contact articles (FCAs). A typical FCA is food packaging, such as bottles or wraps. However, food service items (e.g., cutlery) as well as food processing equipment (e.g., conveyor belts) or transport vessels also constitute a significant proportion of FCAs overall.

There is little information available publicly concerning potential hazards of these chemicals, which are present in myriad products that contact our food.

The health implications of these individual chemicals are not well understood, nor are their effects in mixtures and at very low concentrations.

People with chemical intolerances may react adversely to low levels of these chemicals and be unable to discern whether their symptoms are caused by particular foods, food additives, or these food contact chemicals.

Read the full external article in Environment International: Overview of intentionally used food contact chemicals and their hazards.

International studies suggest up to 20% of people have intolerances to chemicals, foods/food additives, and/or medications.

How sensitive are you?

Take the Brief Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (BREESI) survey:

  1. Do you feel sick when you are exposed to tobacco smoke, certain fragrances, nail polish/remover, engine exhaust, gasoline, air fresheners, pesticides, paint/thinner, fresh tar/asphalt, cleaning supplies, new carpet or furnishings? By sick, we mean: headache, difficulty thinking, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, etc.
  2. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse or allergic reactions to any drugs or medications (such as antibiotics, anesthetics, pain relievers, X-ray contrast dye, vaccines or birth control pills), or to an implant, prosthesis, contraceptive chemical or device, or other medical/surgical/dental material or procedure?
  3. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse reactions to any foods such as dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, or food additives (e.g., MSG, food dye)?

If you answer YES to any of these three questions, take the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) and share the results with your doctor!

To learn more, visit the Marilyn Brachman Hoffman TILT Program website.

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