Toxic Chemicals in Beer, Wine Bottles
Researcher Andrew Turner of the University of Plymouth reports that although cadmium, lead and chromium were found in the glass of the containers tested, levels were too low to present health risks. But he and his team found cadmium concentrations of up to 20,000 parts per million and lead concentrations of 80,000 parts per million in the enameled decorations present on a variety of clear and colored beer, wine and liquor bottles. They added that these toxic metals have the potential to leach from enameled glass. When subjected to a standard test that simulates rainfall in a landfill the cadmium and lead exceeded U.S. Model Toxins in Packaging Legislation and could be classified as hazardous.
Dr. Turner reported that many of the beverage suppliers that his team contacted said the bottles they use are imported and manufactured in a country other than the one where the drinks are produced. He added, “It has always been a surprise to see such high levels of toxic elements in the products we use on a daily basis. This is just another example of that, and further evidence of harmful elements being unnecessarily used where there are alternatives available. The added potential for these substances to leach into other items during the waste and recycling process is an obvious and additional cause for concern.”
Andrew Turner. “Heavy Metals in the Glass and Enamels of Consumer Container Bottles.” Environmental Science & Technology, June 11, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b01726
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