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Glass is the best material for storing water

Publisert: 26.08.2011

In the last issue of EOL magazine(covers the fields of packaging (E), environment (O) and logistics (L)) you could read an article written by Dr. Darko Drev, about the advantages and disadvantages of various materials for the production of food packaging. The article Inappropriate packaging is dangerous to foodstuff talks about some (for us) new possible problems related to plastic or polymer packaging. Plastic materials are basically mentioned as suitable; however, only under optimum conditions, with polymers of the highest quality. The author believes that such quality is often not assured and speaks in favour of as much as possible the moderate use of plastics: “Unless it is necessary, it is better to avoid using plastic packaging.”

However, in this paper we wish to put on the other side of the scale glass, and its suitability for storing foodstuffs. Dr. Drev, describes glass as: “... typically the most suitable material for storing foodstuffs. Glass is chemically stable and typically cannot release harmful substances into foodstuffs.” One of the problematic areas described here is glass that contains lead, that is, specific types of crystal glass. Acid contained in specific foodstuffs can dissolve weakly bound lead in glass. Flaška bottles are produced exclusively from standard glass and do not release lead! Therefore, Flaška bottles will not release harmful substances into the water.

Several scientific studies published on the FEVE (Association of European manufacturers of glass packaging containers) web site show that glass is the most suitable material for food storage. Below there are some research and short summaries, findings:

The assessment of total and elemental migration from UK glass containers

“... the study lead to the conclusion that glass is one of the most inert materials in daily use. Therefore, it is one of the safest and high–quality materials for packaging foodstuffs, drinks and medical products.”

 Study of the migration of metals from glass into food stimulants
Various samples of glass packagings were tested for the danger of the migration of heavy metals – lead, cadmium, chrome and mercury. All tests results were negative or below the baseline.
Baseline Migration Results for Glass
The testing showed that glass is a material with high chemical inertness.

Glass is inert. Therefore it does not react and absorb other substances and is the most suitable for food storage. It is also watertight and impermeable to gases due to its molecular structure. This also includes oxygen, which is particularly important for the prevention of food oxidation. It preserves the so–called organoleptic properties of foodstuff, thus protecting the original taste, appearance, fragrance and form of the foodstuff. In 2010, even the American Cancer Society advised the storage of water in glass or metal (stainless steel) packaging.

Despite the above statement that this article will be dealing with glass, we must again return to plastic, which unfortunately has become the most common choice. The most alarming is the thinking by Dr. Drev, which was published in the conclusion of the article Difficulties surrounding bottled water: “When bottling water and non–alcoholic beverages it is necessary to take into consideration any possible negative effects of the packaging on the foodstuff. In my opinion this are often not sufficiently taken into consideration. There are many reasons for this. One of which is also the limited amount of knowledge about polymer and composite materials and their processing. Due to frequent insufficient control, there is a possibility of using low–quality materials on account of low prices. In view of the above there is no fear of mechanical characteristics, since they are regularly controlled by packaging manufacturers and consumers. Migration of harmful substances into the water can be a far greater problem.”

What are the advantages of glass packaging? A somewhat dull, but a simple fact, is that there are no disadvantages in view of foodstuff safety and integrity.