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What are FCMs, and How Can You Avoid Them?

As if eating canned and processed wasn’t already detrimental enough to our health, a new paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests there is a greater and more elusive threat posed by these packaged foods: long term exposure to synthetic chemicals involved in packaging otherwise known as Food Contact Materials or FCMs.


Food contact materials (FCMs) are usually made of plastic or contain synthetic material such as laminates and coatings. They often come into direct contact with our food thereby contaminated already-depleted ingredients.

The amounts of these synthetic chemicals is regulated to stay below a certain level. Therefore, exposure is low. But, that’s not the point. This paper is primarily concerned with increased usage of canned and packaged foods over the course of an average person’s life—especially amongst certain key demographics.

Too little is known about the long-term impact of chronic exposure to these FCMs, but the paper’s authors believe there may be a link between these FCMs leaking into the food we consume and previously inexplicable chronic diseases.

“These facts may be of relevance to scientists interested in the developmental origins of health and disease hypothesis (DOHaD), life-course effects of in utero and childhood environmental exposures, plasticity, epigenetics and related processes.”

According to an article published on Medical News Today by Marie Ellis,“The first cause for concern, say the authors, is that certain “known toxicants” – including formaldehyde, a substance known to cause cancer – are used legally in FCMs. Plastic bottles used for carbonated drinks, for example, usually contain low levels of formaldehyde. Food contact materials are made of plastic or synthetic materials that are in direct contact with foods. They can include coating, laminate in beverage cartons or the closures of glass jars. Another point the authors make is that hormone production-disrupting chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), tributyltin, triclosan and phthalates, can also be present in FCMs.”

“Whereas the science for some of these substances is being debated and policy makers struggle to satisfy the needs of stakeholders, consumers remain exposed to these chemicals daily, mostly unknowingly,” say the paper’s authors.
How do we begin addressing the issue? They suggest using population-based assessments and biomonitoring to uncover any potential associations between FCMs and chronic conditions including cancer, obesity, diabetes and inflammatory disorders. How can you avoid it? Start paying a bit more attention to your food budget, so you can replace canned and processed foods with fresh ingredients whenever possible. In the long run, you still be saving.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/272910.php

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.