- Abstract: Plastics have are widely used in daily life. One of their uses is for food packaging and food containers. The aim of this review is to introduce different types of chemicals that can leach from food packaging plastics into foods and cause human exposure and to describe their effects on health. The types of plastics were reviewed under the 13 headings in Turkish Codex Alimentarius and plastics recycling symbols were provided to enable the recognition of the type of plastic when applicable. Chemicals used during the production and that can cause health risks are investigated under the heading of the relevant type of plastic. The most important chemicals from plastic food packaging that can cause toxicity are styrene, 1,3-butadiene, melamine, formaldehyde, acrylamide, di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, di-2-ethylhexyl adipate, vinyl chloride and bisphenol A. These chemicals have endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic and/or development disrupting effects. These chemicals may leach into foods depending on the chemical properties of the plastic or food, temperature during packaging, processing and storage, exposure to UV and duration of storage. Contact with fatty/oily or acidic foods, heating of the food inside the container, or drinking hot drinks from plastic cups, use of old and scratched plastics and some detergents increase the risk of leaching. The use of plastic containers and packaging for food and beverages should be avoided whenever possible and when necessary, less harmful types of plastic should be preferred.
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