Scientific review reveals the chemicals migrating from PET drink bottles


A systematic evidence map published on March 4, 2022, in the Journal of Hazardous Materials shows that out of 193 chemicals investigated, 150 have been measured to migrate from polyethylene terephthalate (PET, CAS 25038-59-9) bottles into drinks. Spyridoula Gerassimidou of Brunel University, London, and co-authors, including scientists from the Food Packaging Forum, reviewed 91 studies that analyzed migration of chemicals from PET bottles into water, soda, juice, milk, and other drinks. Migration levels were found to vary depending on the geographic location of bottle production, length of storage time, number of reuses, and content. Of the 150 chemicals found in drinks, 18 were measured at levels exceeding EU regulatory limits. These include several phthalates and nickel (Ni, CAS 7440-02-0). Most of the samples exceeding regulatory limits were in fatty foods or food simulants.

Only 41 of the 150 detected chemicals are included in the European Union’s regulation on plastic food contact materials (FCMs) ‘positive list.’ In addition, 102 out of 150 are included in the Food Packaging Forum’s food contact chemicals database (FCCdb) which provides an overview of chemicals intentionally used to produce FCMs. According to Gerassimidou and co-authors, many of the chemicals that migrate from PET, especially those not included on regulatory lists, may be non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), for which risk assessors lack official guidance (FPF reported).

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Food Packaging Forum, 8 March 2022