An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Monomer and Other Chemical Migrant Levels in Food Grade Plastic

Pira International
Start date
End date
A study will be undertaken on inter-sample and inter-batch variation of 1,3-butadiene, styrene and acrylonitrile levels in styrene-based polymer articles such as cups, trays, dip-pots and dairy containers.

By collaboration with industry, processing conditions that may effect the concentration of these substances in food contact articles will be identified. The samples will originate from different companies, different product streams and different batches. The concentration of monomers in samples will be determined using a headspace gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric method.

The effect of storage of the samples on monomer levels will also be investigated.

Based on the findings of this work, investigation of other substances will be considered.

More information
Year one of an ongoing three year survey entitled 'Chemicals used in plastic materials and articles in contact with food: compliance with statutory limits on composition and migration', identified the need for work on the variation of monomer levels in food contact plastics. (Food Survey Information Sheet 43/03).

This survey found variation in levels of 1,3-butadiene in polystyrene cups. Inter-sample variation is a source of uncertainty in estimating exposure to chemical migrants in food, but there are few hard data on actual variation. This new project will look at the variation in levels of selected chemical substances in plastics and consider the main factors leading to such variation.

Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the Food Standards Agency Research webpage.

Funding Source
Food Standards Agency
Project number
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Legislation and Regulations