Swedish researchers have determined that health issues as minor as inflammation and as and as serious as cancer may be linked to cardboard packaging made from recycled newspapers.
Scientists are linking the health risks to the mineral oils in newspaper ink that survive the recycling process, leaking into foods sold in cardboard boxes such as cereals, grains, pastas, crackers and cookies. In some cases, the toxins were passing through the inner plastic liner bags. Researchers at the Food Safety Laboratory in Zurich tested 119 products from German supermarkets, with 90 of the packages containing unsafe levels of mineral oils.
Although health organizations throughout Europe have said there is no immediate reason for alarm at this point, The Food and Drink Federation of the UK has called for an investigation to determine potential long term effects.
In North America, recycled paper cardboard is a staple among many food manufacturers, especially in light of issues with plastics, known for leaching endocrine adaptors into foods and being linked to serious illnesses. Another report earlier this month revealed that BPA-free plastics, thought to be more stable and safer, have been shown to also leach toxins into foods.