Researchers Find Over 9,000 Chemicals in Plastic Food Packaging


A recent study by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has identified up to 9,936 different chemicals in a single plastic food packaging product. The study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, highlights the complex and potentially harmful nature of chemicals found in everyday plastic packaging.

The research team, led by Professor Martin Wagner of NTNU's Department of Biology, examined 36 different plastic products used for food packaging from the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, and Norway. They discovered that many of these plastics contain chemicals that could interfere with hormone secretion and metabolism, essential functions for bodily communication, and nutrient utilization.

In a related study, the team investigated how combinations of these chemicals could affect G-protein-coupled receptors, crucial for signal transmission in the body. They identified 11 chemical combinations that have a potential impact on these signal pathways.

These findings are part of a broader concern about the safety of plastic products, which are known to leach chemicals when exposed to water. Wagner, who had previously collaborated on research proving this leaching effect, noted that these chemicals could pose risks to human fertility and overall health.

“These and previous findings show that plastic exposes us to toxic chemicals,” he said. “They support the theory that we need to redesign plastic to make it safer.”