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Am J Public Health. 1991 Jun;81(6):756-8.

Soft plastic bread packaging: lead content and reuse by families.

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University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway 08854-5635.


The presence of lead in labels painted on soft plastic bread packaging was evaluated. Lead was detected on the outside of 17 of 18 soft plastic bread bags that were analyzed, with an average of 26 +/- 6 mg per bag with lead. Of 106 families questioned, 16 percent of respondents reported turning the bags inside out before reusing for food storage, thus putting food in contact with the lead paint. We estimate that a weak acid, such as vinegar, could readily leach 100 micrograms of lead from a painted plastic bag within 10 minutes. Further, lead and other metals painted on food packaging of any type becomes part of the municipal waste stream subject to incineration and to land-filling. The use of lead in packaging presents an unnecessary risk to public health.

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