Common microplastics in food (10, 16)

  • Globally, 60% of plastic production is used in the food and beverage industry for food packaging.
  • These plastics contain a range of chemicals and exposure to certain environmental conditions, such as heat, causes the plastic to break into smaller pieces (microplastics), which can be transferred to food.

Some common microplastics found in food include:

  • Bisphenol (BPA and BPF): this plasticiser is used to produce polyvinyl chloride, the basis of the plastic in many products. It is commonly found in household food storage containers, food and beverage containers, plastic bottles, metal cans, household utensils and toys (5).
  • dioxin: This is a by-product of herbicides and paper bleaching that pollutes the environment.
  • phthalates: They make plastics more flexible, transparent and durable and are present in many types of food packaging.
  • polyethylene and polypropylene: These make packaging lightweight and durable and are the most common plastics found in food and the environment.

Microplastics found in smaller quantities in food include BPA and BPF