September 23, 2009

"Leachables" is the new not-so-green buzzword

A Chemical and Engineering News article last week mentioned "leachables." The term refers to any chemical that can leach out of a container or packaging and into whatever it's holding. Uh oh! Just when my attention was diverted from the BPA that's probably in the lining of canned goods, now I can lose sleep, worrying about migrating molecules of chemicals in my meals, and pharmaceuticals.

Almost all forms of consumer product packaging--from foil pouches and plastic sacks to juice boxes and asthma inhalers--come with some level of risk that chemicals in the packaging will leach.

The article states, "In the U.S., the Code of Federal Regulations lists ingredients that manufacturers may use to make packaging that contacts food, including a limit of how much of the additive can be present in the packaging. If a company wants to get a new additive approved, it must figure out how much leaches out of the packaging and into the food over 30 days."

But it's not so much IF these chemicals will leach, but HOW MUCH they will. This is a chemical price tag that we who live in the modern world must face.