Bottle cap liners test positives for phthalates and PVC


Toxic Free Food Campaign reports on the use of ortho-phthalates and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in cap gaskets of bottled beverages from 141 brands; finds 66% of the cap liners made of PVC and gaskets of 50 beverage brands to contain ortho-phthalates; several beverage companies respond by announcing to phase out phthalates.

A report published on July 13, 2021, by Defend Our Health and Ecology Center Healthy Stuff Lab on behalf of the Toxic Free Food Campaign summarizes the use of phthalates and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in plastic bottle cap liners. The Ecology Center Healthy Stuff Lab acquired 273 bottle cap liners from non-alcoholic glass-bottled beverages and 10 from plastic-bottled beverages sold in 12 US states, Washington DC, and Toronto, Canada between late 2019 and throughout 2020. Subsequently, cap gaskets were analyzed with FTIR (Fourier-transform infrared) spectroscopy for the presence of ortho-phthalates and PVC.

The study found that cap gaskets from more than one-third of the 141 tested brands contained the ortho-phthalates bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP, CAS 117-81-7), diisononyl phthalate (DINP, CAS 28553-12-0), and diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP, CAS 26761-40-0), all three of which are listed in the Food Packaging Forum’s Food Contact Chemicals database (FCCdb) as priority hazardous substances. In addition, “four safer alternatives to ortho-phthalates were identified in use as a plasticizer.” Phthalates were most frequently detected in cap gaskets for soda, with 55% of the cap liners containing phthalates, followed by organic products (41%), smaller brands (41%), and kombucha (40%). PVC “was most frequently found in the bottle cap liners from ready-to-drink coffee (100% of brands tested) and tea (84% of brands tested), juices and juice drinks (82% of brands tested), and brands purchased at dollar stores (75% of brands tested).” Cap gaskets from around two-thirds of the tested brands were made of PVC, 19% of polystyrene, 11% of polyethylene vinyl acetate, and 3% of polyethylene. In total, 59 brands used plastics other than PVC to produce their bottle cap liners, and these were tested and found to be free of ortho-phthalates.

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Food Packaging Forum, 19 July 2021