Excess Amounts of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles in Food Packaging is Harmful

Excess Amounts of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles in Food Packaging is Harmful

Food packaging could be harmful to human health due to the excess amounts of zinc oxide nanoparticles, according to a study conducted on April 9, 2018.

This study has found that zinc oxide nanoparticles at doses that are relevant to what a person normally eat in a day might alter the way in, which absorption of nutrients takes place in the intestine. According to the researchers, canned goods contain ZnO nanoparticles in the lining of the container due to their antimicrobial properties and it also prevents staining of sulfur-producing foods. As a part of this study, canned corn, tuna, asparagus, and chicken were analyzed using mass spectrometry to estimate the number of particles that are being transferred to the food.

After analyzing the canned food products, they found that the food contained 100 times the daily dietary allowance of zinc. Further, the effects these particles have on the digestive tract was studied by the researchers. Gretchen Mahler, associate professor of bioengineering said, “We are looking at cell function, which is a much more subtle effect, and looking at nanoparticle doses that are closer to what you might really be exposed to.” They found that these particles deposit on the cells that form the gastrointestinal tract and further, microvilli, tiny projections on the surface of the intestinal absorptive cells are damaged. Surface area available for absorption is increased by microvilli.

Therefore, nutrient absorption is reduced due to loss of surface area. An increase in intestinal permeability would allow unwanted compounds to pass through into the bloodstream, which is not required. However, researchers are still not sure about the long-term implications of this on human health. Further focus of research will be on food additive-gut microbiome interactions. Also, this study is the first to look upon the effects of zinc oxide particles on human health.

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