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Common Food Packaging is Riddled with Toxic Chemicals, Study Finds

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Scientists are warning consumers about a range of toxic chemicals that may be leaching into their diet (and bodies) via food packaging. Although the individual amounts are small, and the risk posed by some of the substances is up for debate, researchers say a lifetime of consumption leads to "chronic" exposure, which can put us at risk for life-threatening disease.

It's no secret that our food system has become a little weird over the past century. What used to be a diet of mostly fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and dairy has been supplanted by drinks and ready meals which are packed and microwaved in plastics. There's more money to be made in food that has a shelf life of months (or even years), so in addition to chemical preservatives, manufacturers dress it up in food packaging that's full of even more dangerous toxins. Eaten over many years, these enriched, pasteurized, nutritionally-hollow ingredients are likely to have a negative impact on your health. According to recent research, the ingredients aren't the only thing that make processed foods dangerous, however.

In their study, researchers from the U.S., Switzerland and Spain looked at food contact materials, or FCMs, such as wrappers, cans and bottles. They found low levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, in plastic bottles. Other chemicals known to disrupt hormone production were also found in FCMs, including bisphenol A, tributyltin, triclosan, and phthalates. In total, say the researchers, the number of known chemical substances used intentionally in FCMs exceeds 4,000.

"Whereas the science for some of these substances is being debated, consumers remain exposed to these chemicals daily, mostly unknowingly," researchers told Express.        
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