A Perspective on Human Exposures to Plastics Additives in Water-Packaging Materials


Plastic and polymer additives (PA) have unique rational advantages for various water and food packaging applications. However, their (bio)chemical natures are recently recognized for their negative human health impacts. The major adverse consequence of these additives in consumer products is in the form of endocrine-disruption related health-downgrades. Such findings still remain underappreciated in most parts globally; part of which could be ascribed to fragmented studies towards better understanding on the occurrence, release and migration, human exposure, epidemiology and risk assessment of PA from packaging materials. In addition there is limited and disconnected dissemination of research findings on PA effects and mitigation measures to society at present. In light of appropriateness of this topic, a trans-disciplinary research agenda is required for addressing exposure routes to PA, human health burden and prevention measures. This perspective article discusses important research questions relating to PA, which try to shed light to a grey scientific area and help increase consumers’ awareness and intervention to such exposures.

Share and Cite:

S. Andra, "A Perspective on Human Exposures to Plastics Additives in Water-Packaging Materials," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 5 No. 4A, 2013, pp. 25-33. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2013.54A005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] CIPET (Central Institute of Plastics and Engineering Technology), “Plastics Industry—Statistics,” 2010. http://cipet.gov.in/plastics_statistics.html
[2] J. G. Rodwan Jr., “Bottled Water 2009,” International Bottled Water Association,” 2010. http://www.bottledwater.org/files/2009BWstats.pdf
[3] C. Z. Yang, S. I. Yaniger, V. C. Jordan, D. J. Klein and G. D. Bittner, “Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem that Can Be Solved,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 119, No. 7, 2011, pp. 989-996. doi:10.1289/ehp.1003220
[4] J. L. Carwile, H. T. Luu, L. S. Bassett, D. A. Driscoll, C. Yuan, J. Y. Chang, X. Ye, A. M. Calafat and K. B. Michels, “Polycarbonate Bottle Use and Urinary Bisphenol A Concentrations,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 117, No. 9, 2009, pp. 1368-1372.
[5] J. Muncke, “Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Compounds via the Food Chain: Is Packaging a Relevant Source?” Science of Total Environment, Vol. 407, No. 16, 2009, pp. 4549-4559. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.05.006
[6] D. Amiridou and D. Voutsa, “Alkylphenols and Phthalates in Bottled Waters,” Journal of Hazardous Materials, Vol. 185, No. 1, 2011, pp. 281-288. doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.09.031
[7] T. T. Schug, A. Janesick, B. Blumberg and J. J. Heindel, “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Disease Susceptibility,” Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Vol. 127, No. 3-5, 2011, pp. 204-215. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2011.08.007
[8] S. S. Andra and K. C. Makris, “Thyroid Disrupting Chemicals in Plastic Additives and Thyroid Health,” Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part C, Environmental Carcinogenesis & Ecotoxicology, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2012, pp. 107-151.
[9] M. Wittassek, H. M. Koch, J. Angerer and T. Brüning, “Assessing Exposure to Phthalates—The Human Biomonitoring Approach,” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, Vol. 55, No. 1, 2011, pp. 7-31. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201000121
[10] L. N. Vandenberg, R. Hauser, M. Marcus, N. Olea and W. V. Welshons, “Human Exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA),” Reproductive Toxicology, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2007, pp. 139-177. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2007.07.010
[11] A. G. Asimakopoulos, N. S. Thomaidis and M. A. Koupparis, “Recent Trends in Biomonitoring of Bisphenol A, 4-T-Octylphenol, and 4-Nonylphenol,” Toxicology Letters, Vol. 210, No. 2, 2012, pp. 141-154. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2011.07.032
[12] H. M. Koch and A. M. Calafat, “Human Body Burdens of Chemicals Used in Plastic Manufacture,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 364, No. 1526, 2009, pp. 2063-2078. doi:10.1098/rstb.2008.0208
[13] G. Saravanabhavan and J. Murray, “Human Biological Monitoring of Diisononyl Phthalate and Diisodecyl Phthalate: A Review,” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, Vol. 2012, 2012, p. 11. doi:10.1155/2012/810501
[14] L. G. Costa, G. Giordano, S. Tagliaferri, A. Caglieri and A. Mutti, “Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Flame Retardants: Environmental Contamination, Human Body Burden and Potential Adverse Health Effects,” Acta Bio-Medica, Vol. 79, No. 3, 2008, pp. 172-183.
[15] M. Frederiksen, K. Vorkamp, M. Thomsen and L. E. Knudsen, “Human Internal and External Exposure to PBDEs—A Review of Levels and Sources,” International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Vol. 212, No. 2, 2009, pp. 109-134. doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2008.04.005
[16] A. Covaci, S. Harrad, M. A. Abdallah, N. Ali, R. J. Law, D. Herzke and C. A. de Wit, “Novel Brominated Flame Retardants: A Review of Their Analysis, Environmental Fate and Behaviour,” Environment International, Vol. 37, No. 2, 2011, pp. 532-556. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2010.11.007
[17] J. Muncke, “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Other Substances of Concern in Food Contact Materials: An Updated Review of Exposure, Effect and Risk Assessment,” Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Vol. 127, No. 1-2, 2011, pp. 118-127. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2010.10.004
[18] L. Sax, “Polyethylene Terephthalate May Yield Endocrine Disruptors,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 118, No. 4, 2010, pp. 445-448. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901253
[19] IBWA (International Bottled Water Association), “Bottled Water Facts: IBWA Corrects EWG’s Faulty Report,” Bottled Water Reporter, 2011. http://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/IBWA/g17910ibwa/#/8
[20] W. Shotyk and M. Krachler, “Contamination of Bottled Waters with Antimony Leaching from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Increases upon Storage,” Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 41, No. 5, 2007, pp. 1560-1563. doi:10.1021/es061511+
[21] P. Westerhoff, P. Prapaipong, E. Shock and A. Hillaireau, “Antimony Leaching from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Plastic Used for Bottled Drinking Water,” Water Research, Vol. 42, No. 3, 2008, pp. 551-556. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2007.07.048
[22] S. S. Andra, K. C. Makris and J. P. Shine, “Frequency of Use Controls Chemical Leaching from Drinking-Water Containers Subject to Disinfection,” Water Research, Vol. 45, No. 20, 2011, pp. 6677-6687. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2011.10.001
[23] X. L. Cao and J. Corriveau, “Migration of Bisphenol A from Polycarbonate Baby and Water Bottles into Water under Severe Conditions,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 56, No. 15, 2008, pp. 6378-6381. doi:10.1021/jf800870b
[24] S. V. Leivadara, A. D. Nikolaou and T. D. Lekkas, “Determination of Organic Compounds in Bottled Waters,” Food Chemistry, Vol. 108, No. 1, 2008, pp. 277-286. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2007.10.031
[25] P. Schmid, M. Kohle, R. Meierhofer, S. Luzi and M. Wegelin, “Does the Reuse of PET Bottles during Solar Water Disinfection Pose a Health Risk Due to the Migration of Plasticisers and Other Chemicals into the Water?” Water Research, Vol. 42, No. 20, 2008, pp. 5054-5060. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2008.09.025
[26] D. Biscardi, S. Monarca, R. De Fusco R, F. Senatore, P. Poli, A. Buschini, C. Rossi and C. Zani, “Evaluation of the Migration of Mutagens/Carcinogens from PET Bottles into Mineral Water by Tradescantia/Micronuclei Test, Comet Assay on Leukocytes and GC/MS,” Science of Total Environment, Vol. 302, No. 1-3, 2003, pp. 101-108. doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00349-2
[27] J. E. Biles, T. P. McNeal, T. H. Begley and H. C. Holli-field, “Determination of Bisphenol-A in Reusable Polycarbonate Food-Contact Plastics and Migration to Food-Simulating Liquids,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 45, No. 9, 1997, pp. 3541-3544. doi:10.1021/jf970072i
[28] N. Casajuana and S. Lacorte, “Presence and Release of Phthalic Esters and Other Endocrine Disrupting Compounds in Drinking Water,” Chromatographia, Vol. 57, No. 910, 2003, pp. 649-655. doi:10.1007/BF02491744
[29] J. E. Loyo-Rosales, G. C. Rosales-Rivera, A. M. Lynch, C. P. Rice and A. Torrents, “Migration of Nonylphenol from Plastic Containers to Water and a Milk Surrogate,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol. 52, No. 7, 2004, pp. 2016-2020. doi:10.1021/jf0345696
[30] H. H. Le, E. M. Carlson, J. P. Chua and S. M. Belcher, “Bisphenol A Is Released from Polycarbonate Drinking Bottles and Mimics the Neurotoxic Actions of Estrogen in Developing Cerebellar Neurons,” Toxicology Letters, Vol. 176, No. 2, 2008, pp. 149-156. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2007.11.001
[31] H. Gallart-Ayala, E. Moyano and M. T. Galceran, “Analysis of Bisphenols in Soft Drinks by On-Line Solid Phase Extraction Fast Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry,” Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 683, No. 2, 2011, pp. 227-233. doi:10.1016/j.aca.2010.10.034
[32] A. Penalver, E. Pocurull, F. Borrull and R. M. Marce, “Determination of Phthalate Esters in Water Samples by Solid-Phase Microextraction and Gas Chromatography with Mass Spectrometric Detection,” Journal of Chromatography A, Vol. 872, No. 1-2, 2000, pp. 191-201. doi:10.1016/S0021-9673(99)01284-4
[33] A. Guart, F. Bono-Blay, A. Borrell and S. Lacorte, “Migration of Plasticizers, Phthalates, Bisphenol A and Alkylphenols from Plastic Containers and Evaluation of Risk,” Food Additives & Contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment, Vol. 28, No. 5, 2011, pp. 676-685. doi:10.1080/19440049.2011.555845
[34] CEF/AMU, “Statement of EFSA on a Study Associating Bisphenol A with Medical Disorders,” The EFSA Journal, Vol. 838, No. 22, 2008, pp. 1-3.
[35] EU, Commission Directive 2007/19/EC of 30 March 2007 Amending Directive 2002/72/EC Relating to Plastic Materials and Articles Intended to Come into Contact with Food and Council Directive 85/572/EEC Laying Down the List of Simulants to Be Used for Testing Migration of Constituents of Plastic Materials and Articles Intended to Come into Contact with Foodstuffs, 2007.
[36] N. von Goetz, M. Wormuth, M. Scheringer and K. Hungerbühler, “Bisphenol A: How the Most Relevant Exposure Sources Contribute to Total Consumer Exposure,” Risk Analysis, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2010, pp. 473-487. doi:10.1111/j.1539-6924.2009.01345.x
[37] M. Wagner and J. Oehlmann, “Endocrine Disruptors in Bottled Mineral Water: Total Estrogenic Burden and Migration from Plastic Bottles,” Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2009, pp. 278-286. doi:10.1007/s11356-009-0107-7
[38] U. Honkalampi-Hamalainen, E. L. Bradley, L. Castle, I. Severin, L. Dahbi, O. Dahlman, J.-C. Lhuguenot, M. A. Andersson, P. Hakulinen, D. Hoornstra, J. Maki-Paakkanen, M. Salkinoja-Salonen, L. Turco, A. Stammati, F. Zucco, A. Weber and A. von Wright, “Safety Evaluation of Food Contact Paper and Board Using Chemical Tests and in Vitro Bioassays: Role of Known and Unknown Substances,” Food Additives & Contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2010, pp. 1-10.
[39] D. E. Bloom, E. T. Cafiero, E. Jané-Lopis, S. Abrahams-Gessel, L. R. Bloom, S. Fathima, et al. “The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases,” 2011. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Harvard_HE_
[40] M. Wittassek, G. A. Wiesmüller, H. M. Koch, R. Eckard, L. Dobler, J. Müller, J. Angerer and C. Schlüter, “Internal Phthalate Exposure over the Last Two Decades—A Retrospective Human Biomonitoring Study,” International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Vol. 210, No. 3-4, 2007, pp. 319-333. doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2007.01.037
[41] ESFA (European Food Safety Authority), “Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) on a Request from the Commission Related to Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) for Use in Food Contact Materials,” 2005. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/scdoc/243.htm
[42] J. Weuve, B. N. Sanchez, A. M. Calafat, T. Schettler, R. A. Green, H. Hu, et al., “Exposure to Phthalates in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Infants: Urinary Concentrations of Monoesters and Oxidative Metabolites,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 114, No. 9, 2006, pp. 1424-1431. doi:10.1289/ehp.8926
[43] R. Hauser, S. Duty, L. Godfrey-Bailey and A. M. Calafat, “Medications as a Source of Human Exposure to Phthalates,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 112, No. 6, 2004, pp. 751-753. doi:10.1289/ehp.6804
[44] K. C. Makris, S. S. Andra, L. Herrick, C. A. Christophi, S. A. Snyder and R. Hauser, “Association of Drinking-Water Source and Use Characteristics with Urinary Antimony Concentrations,” Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2013, pp. 120- 127. doi:10.1038/jes.2012.104
[45] K. C. Makris, S. S. Andra, A. Jia, L. Herrick, C. A. Christophi, S. A. Snyder and R. Hauser, “Association between Water Consumption from Polycarbonate Containers and Bisphenol A Intake during Harsh Environmental Conditions in Summer,” Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 47, No. 7, 2013, pp. 3333-3343. doi:1 0.1021/es304038k
[46] M. K. Skinner, M. Manikkam and C. Guerrero-Bosagna, “Epigenetic Transgenerational Actions of Environmental Factors in Disease Etiology,” Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, Vol. 21, No. 4, 2010, pp. 214-222. doi:10.1016/j.tem.2009.12.007
[47] R. M. Whyatt, X. Liu, V. A. Rauh, A. M. Calafat, A. C. Just, L. Hoepner, et al., “Maternal Prenatal Urinary Phthalate Metabolite Concentrations and Child Mental, Psychomotor, and Behavioral Development at 3 Years of Age,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 120, No. 2, 2012, pp. 290-295. doi:10.1289/ehp.1103705
[48] J. Chevrier, R. B. Gunier, A. Bradman, N. T. Holland, A. M. Calafat, B. Eskenazi, et al., “Maternal Urinary Bisphenol A during Pregnancy and Maternal and Neonatal Thyroid Function in the CHAMACOS Study,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 121, No. 1, 2013, pp. 138-144.
[49] B. Eskenazi, J. Chevrier, S. A. Rauch, K. Kogut, K. G. Harley, C. Johnson, et al., “In Utero and Childhood Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Exposures and Neurodevelopment in the CHAMACOS Study,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 121, No. 1, 2013, pp. 257-262.
[50] S. S. Andra, K. C. Makris, J. P. Shine and C. Lu, “Co-Leaching of Brominated Compounds and Antimony from Bottled Water,” Environment International, Vol. 38, No.1, 2012, pp. 45-53. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2011.08.007

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.