Toxic Metals in Paper and Paperboard Food Packagings

Gulnur Mertoglu Elmas, Gamze Çınar


This study characterized the structure of food packages, determined the amount of toxic metals that pass through the package (due to the package’s condition and contact with food), and examined the appropriateness of current food legislation. The food packages were examined for weight, ash content, and optical properties under two different light sources. The toxic metal quantities of the packages were analyzed with the use of an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES ). In all packages, Pb migrated into food and was found at levels that exceeded limit values. Although the amounts of Hg within the material structure were above limits in most packages, it did not migrate from the packages. Although the amount of Cd in structural packaging did not exceed the limit values, most of the migration-related values were high. The Zn concentration in packaging was substantially higher than the amount due to migration. Structural Cu values were mostly below the limit values, except in corrugated boards. Cr amounts in both packaging structure and migration were below the limit values. In all packaging, there were minimum amounts of Ni among paperboard samples and maximum amounts among corrugated boards. Al values were high among structural paper packages, as well as in migration values in paperboard packaging.


Toxic metals; Heavy metals; Migration; Food packaging; Paper; Paperboard; Corrugated board

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