It’s no secret that modern life is full of dangerous toxins. From the food we eat and the cosmetics we wear, to the places we work and live in, our daily routine bombards us with hazardous chemicals.

You’ve probably heard by now that many supermarket staples are pumped full of chemical preservatives and disturbing additives. Now, scientists are warning that the synthetic chemicals found in common food packaging are leaching from containers into our food and drink. Although consumers are only exposed to tiny portions of the toxins at a time, a lifetime of daily exposure can add up to chronic exposure, which in turn can trigger life-threatening disease.

A team of environmental scientists recently published a commentary in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The team expressed concern over the results of recent research, which found that food contact materials (FCMs) such as wrappers, cans, glass jars, and bottles contain chronically dangerous levels of known toxins. These toxins include formaldehyde, a substance known to cause cancer, and hormone-production disrupting chemicals like BPA, tributlyltin, triclosan, and phthalates. Many chemicals found in FCM can disrupt endocrine production, which can cause fetuses to develop chronic diseases later on.

All told, more than 4,000 chemical substances are intentionally used in FCMs. These chemicals may be endangering the lives of millions of consumers—most, if not all, of whom are totally unaware of the dangers their food packaging poses.

“Since most foods are packaged and the entire population is likely to be exposed, it is of utmost importance that gaps in knowledge are reliably and rapidly filled,” the scientists warned. “Consumers remain exposed to these chemicals daily, mostly unknowingly.”

The scientists suggest that population-based assessments may be used to uncover connections between FCMs and cancer, obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory disorders. Until further research is complete, your best bet is to stick to fresh, unpackaged whole foods. It’s hard to go wrong with fresh fruits and veggies!

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