• Tech Tech

Analysis of sandwich baggie composition raises serious health concerns: 'There is not a safe level'

While current FDA rules allow certain PFAs in food-contact plastic, experts say these limits are woefully insufficient.

While current FDA rules allow certain PFAs in food-contact plastic, experts say these limits are woefully insufficient.

Photo Credit: iStock

Analysis commissioned by the blog "Mamavation" has revealed a disturbing trend: The majority of plastic sandwich baggies sold in the U.S. contain high levels of toxic PFAS, also known as "forever chemicals."

The findings raise serious concerns about the safety of these common household items and the adequacy of current regulations to protect public health, according to the Guardian.

🗣️ Which factor would motivate you to pay more for a sustainable product?

🔘 Superior quality 💎

🔘 Trendier style ✨

🔘 Bigger environmental impact 💚

🔘 I wouldn't pay more 🚫

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

What's happening?

Mamavation hired an EPA-certified lab to test sandwich bags from 11 major brands for markers of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Nine of the 11 brands showed concerning PFAS levels of between nine and 34 parts per million.

While current FDA rules allow certain PFAS in food-contact plastic, experts say these limits are woefully insufficient.

"The more we look into PFAS, the more we know there is not a safe level, and the [FDA's limits] don't correspond with the science and knowledge we have of these chemicals," Maricel Maffini, an Environmental Defense Fund researcher who tracks PFAS in food, told the Guardian

Why are PFAS concerning?

Dubbed "forever chemicals," PFAS persist in the environment without breaking down. Exposure to these substances has been linked to a range of serious health issues, including cancer, thyroid problems, reduced immunity, and more.

Our main route of PFAS exposure is through contaminated food. Manufacturers frequently add PFAS to food packaging for grease-proofing and non-stick properties. However, studies show the chemicals can then leach into food at alarming concentrations.

Recent EPA findings suggest virtually no level of PFAS in drinking water is safe, underscoring that even trace amounts pose risks. Yet these chemicals remain ubiquitous in food packaging, with our sandwich baggies quietly serving up a dose of toxic pollution.

What can I do about PFAS?

Fortunately, we can take easy measures to reduce our exposure to toxic PFAS. Health advocates recommend storing food in reusable glass containers instead of plastic bags whenever possible.

If you opt for baggies, choose brands that are explicitly labeled PFAS-free. Ziploc was the sole brand in the Mamavation testing that did not show PFAS markers.

As consumers, we also have the power to pressure companies to eliminate PFAS and other toxins from their products. Shifting our spending to non-toxic options sends a strong signal that we demand safer, healthier choices for our families and environment.

Each of us can help stem the tide of PFAS contamination, starting with something as simple as our snack bags. Ditching plastic for sustainable alternatives is a small change that can add up to a big impact on our health and our planet. Let's make it happen.

Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.

Cool Divider