Toxics Leaching from Plastic Food Packaging & What You Can Do
- July 12, 2011 |
- by Janelle Sorensen, Healthy Child
Plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic-lined cans – it’s tough to find a food that isn’t packaged in plastic. Yet, what leaches out of the packaging and into our food is often an overlooked component of food safety.
According to Emily Barrett at Environmental Health News:
[A new] study suggests that the problems go far beyond just one culprit or one health effect. Among the many toxic chemicals that can migrate from packaging into food are the endocrine disrupting phthalates and organotins and the carcinogen benzophenone. These compounds are heavily used in food packaging and have known health effects, yet are not routinely tested or regulated in food.
Although some regulations exist to guarantee safe food packaging, the current system does not address concerns posed by endocrine disrupting chemicals. The associated health effects of exposure to hormone altering compounds are many and varied, including immune dysfunction, metabolic disorders (diabetes, thyroid) and reproductive problems.
A number of other notable regulatory flaws include not testing mixtures and a lack of understanding of different effects on different populations – from children to developing fetus to adults to the elderly.
The guidelines, though, do not consider the collective numbers and toxicity – alone or in combination – of all of the chemicals that can leach from the packaging. In a chemical mix, individual health effects may be magnified. Printing, ink, adhesives, recycled cardboard and the plastic containers can all introduce unwanted chemicals into a single food product, creating a mix with additive or synergystic effects. What’s more, the chemicals may degrade over time or form new compounds that migrate into food. These can go entirely unmeasured since it is nearly impossible to identify and test for them all.
What can you do? Read the rest of this article at HealthyChild.org to learn how to avoid these exposures.