Food packaging is reviewed for safety by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and this stringent safety review is done before new materials are allowed on the market. Consumers can and should be confident in the safety of plastic food packaging. FDA’s review of plastics for food-contact use specifically considers migration before making its safety determination.
The term ‘phthalates’ refers to a family of chemical compounds primarily used to make polyvinyl chloride (or vinyl) flexible and pliant. The phthalates widely selected to soften plastics are used because of their strong performance, durability and stability. Because these phthalate plasticizers are bound into the material in which they are added, they do not easily migrate out of the product or evaporate. Most plastic food packaging and storage items are made with other types of plastics and do not require softening agents, such as phthalates.
Phthalates have undergone numerous scientific reviews at government agencies, and the conclusions have been essentially the same: phthalates used in commercial products do not pose a risk to human health at typical exposure levels. Information collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the last 10 years indicates that, despite the fact that phthalates are used in many products, exposure is extremely low – significantly lower than any levels of concern set by regulatory agencies.