A new test can identify take-away paper-based food containers (such as pizza boxes) that break phthalate safety rules. The phthalates (plasticisers) are present because the containers were made from pulp that contained at least some recycled paper and cardboard. In Italy, where the test was developed, this use of recycled paper and cardboard for food packaging breaks food safety rules.
Recycling paper and cardboard is a great goal, but it can have its problems. If the original paper is loaded with inks, adhesives and other substances, then these will be passed into the new recycled material. If that material is used to package food then the food could be exposed to the chemicals from recycling. One chemical of particular concern is diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP). This is commonly found in inks and other chemicals used in printing. It is potentially dangerous because it has a similar structure to androgenic hormones in the human body.
With take away pizzas, hot food is placed inside the cardboard box, and so there is a high chance that the food will be exposed to any volatile chemicals in the cardboard such as plasticisers as they will enter the headspace of the box. To avoid this contamination, the boxes should be made from unrecycled materials.
Working at the University of Milan, Italy, a team of scientists has developed a test that looks specifically at DIBP. In a paper published in this week’s edition of Packaging Technology and Science, the researchers report the analysis of boxes purchased from 16 different take-away restaurants in northern Italy.
They found that while some boxes exposed pizza to just over 7 micrograms of DIBP under test conditions, others gave exposure to over 40 micrograms and one to more than 70 micrograms of DIBP. This is a clear indication that the boxes had been manufactured using at least some recycled paper or cardboard.
‘Our test can give a standardised measurement of the risk of exposure associated with individual types of boxes,’ says lead author Monica Bononi.
‘Safety is a key concern in the food industry, and regulations within Italian law help by setting standards for packaging. Our test could help monitor how well manufacturers are keeping to those standards,’ says co-author Professor Fernando Tateo.
Jennifer Beal | alfa
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering