Public Availability of Database of Chemicals Related to Plastic Packaging

A group of non-governmental organizations, including The Food Packaging Forum, ChemTrust, and ChemSec, have published a database of chemicals related to plastic packaging developed in collaboration with research institutions in Europe and the United States. The database contains information on over 4,000 materials that are used in plastic packaging. The developers used several sources for the information, including the database of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chemicals and Products Categories database (CPCat), books, and professional reports on the use of chemical substances in plastics. The extensive article on the database appeared in Science of the Total Environment and is available here as a preprint. The chemical databases are also available there as supplemental information for downloading.

In their article, the authors emphasize the importance of collaboration with industry, government agencies, and other stakeholders to enable the closure of scientific gaps. That’s the only way to enable fact-based risk evaluation. The primary goal is to find substitutes for the most-dangerous chemicals as quickly as possible.

Jane Muncke, project manager and managing director of the Zurich-based Food Packaging Forum said that the database is not yet complete by any measure. Why? No uniform toxicity classification yet exists for the chemicals, and companies consider the contents of their packaging as confidential business information. That’s why information does not flow along the supply chain, which limits effective protection of human health and the environment.

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