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Plastic Packaging Chemicals Project



Plastic packaging is increasingly used globally, causing rising concerns for the environment and human health from littering, release of microplastic and leakage of hazardous chemicals. An estimated 40% of plastic production is used for packaging. A large part of packaging is for foods and beverages, but growth in the internet based market place is increasing  demand for consumer packaging for non-food items as well. In order to fully assess hazards in the manufacture, use, disposal and recycling of packaging, we need a comprehensive list of chemicals associated with plastic packaging manufacture including non-intentionally added substances. 

Project Goals 

The research project “Hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging: State of the art, prioritization, and assessment” is a multi-partner collaboration led by the Food Packaging Forum (FPF). The aim of the project is to develop a comprehensive database of chemicals associated with plastic packaging, compile current scientific information and make it accessible to all stakeholders. A special focus will be placed on human and environmental health, as well as socio-economic impact. Further, the project will also analyze substitution options for the most hazardous chemicals.

Partners in the Project:

The project is funded by a grant from the charitable Swiss-based MAVA Foundation and will run from mid-2017 until mid-2019

The Healthy Building Network is pleased to support this Project with data services and a forum for collaboration.  


Current Status: The project team has published a paper Overview of known plastic packaging-associated chemicals and their hazards.

Sci Total Environ. 2019 Feb 15;651(Pt 2):3253-3268. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.10.015. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

The paper describes a database of over 3377 substances possibly associated with the manufacture of plastic packaging with a focus on food contact packaging. The 906 chemicals that are likely associated with plastic packaging are available as a comparison list here in Pharos, allowing you to view the hazards of each chemical

Learn more and participate:

For an overview of the project, download the extended abstract: Chemicals in plastic packaging: Prioritization of hazardous substances

See also ChemTrust’s project description: Hazardous chemicals in plastic packaging: an initial analysis  

The first results of the research project were presented at the SETAC Europe conference on May 15, 2018 and reported in a ChemicalWatch article

Join the conversation about this project by sharing your questions, comments, and ideas in the Plastic Packaging Chemicals Discussion.