7 Reasons Why You Should Never Use Plastic With Food Again
Our food appears to come into contact with plastic in some manner or another. We use it continually while the food is in our possession, from the bag or packaging it comes in through storing leftovers in plastic containers. Food is processed on plastic machinery and distributed in plastic-lined cartons and cans even before it reaches the grocery store shelf.
So, certainly, a product that is so frequently used must be safe, right? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Plastic chemicals can leach into our food, and manufacturers are under no obligation to declare the compounds they employ.
The safety of many different plastics is still up in the air, but we do know that a common ingredient called BPA (bisphenol A) alters the endocrine system and may be connected to behavioral disorders, cancer, and heart disease.
Although plastic makes our life easier, the bitter aftertaste in meals that have been preserved for a long period or cooked in plastic says something. There are numerous drawbacks to our dependency on plastic; we'll look at seven convincing reasons to stop the plastic habit, particularly when it comes to food.
BPA, for starters.
Plastics come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they're all labeled with a number. These figures are used by consumers to determine if a plastic is recyclable. The numbers represent a specific "recipe" for manufacturers. Plastic #7 is a type of strong polycarbonate plastic that contains BPA.
BPA accumulates in our bodies over time, disrupting the endocrine system and increasing the risk of various devastating diseases, including cancer and heart disease. Children, particularly newborns and fetuses, are especially vulnerable to the effects of BPA, which has leached into our food. That's why BPA was recently banned from infant bottles and sippy cups as part of a campaign.
BPA, on the other hand, can be found in a surprising number of places. It's used to line soup, fruit, and vegetable cans made of metal. Receipt paper, soda cans, DVDs, and insulated coffee mugs all contain it. To limit your exposure, look for the BPA-free label on as many products as possible.
Here's some more awful news for kids. To make the material malleable, phthalates are used in soft plastics used in a variety of children's toys. PVC, or plastic #3, is what this is. Because phthalates do not attach chemically to PVC, they can easily leak into the skin or any food they come into contact with.
Phthalates have been shown in studies to impair developing children's endocrine and reproductive systems, as well as to raise the chance of liver cancer. Fresh PVC has a headache-inducing odor that can indicate its toxicity.
They're difficult to avoid totally, but body cleansers and other hygiene items are one place they pop up. Look for a phthalate-free label on any products you intend to apply to your family's skin.
3. The element antimony
Although you are certainly aware that plastic water bottles are bad for the environment, you may not be aware of the danger they pose to our health. PET #1 is the type of plastic used in these bottles, and it uses antimony as a catalyst. Antimony is thought to increase the risk of cancer throughout one's life.
More research is needed to identify the entire hazards of drinking antimony-contaminated water, but we do know that it leaches out of water bottles. People who work with antimony professionally have experienced negative health effects as a result of inhalation, oral, or cutaneous exposure to the chemical or its related compounds.
Polypropylene (plastic #5) is the type of plastic that most of our food storage containers are made of. For a long time, #5 has been seen as a safe alternative to BPA-containing plastic. However, it was subsequently discovered that antibacterial ingredients drain out of it, adding to the evidence that there is no such thing as a safe plastic.
As a relatively new finding, little research has been done on the potential harm caused by our use of #5 plastics. However, in order for our guts to operate effectively, they require a delicate balance of bacteria, which antibacterial chemicals can jeopardize.
Teflon is a type of nonstick coating.
Teflon is a nonstick material that is used to coat various pots and pans. Although there is no proof that Teflon is hazardous when swallowed, it can emit poisonous compounds at extremely high temperatures (over 500 degrees). Teflon also emits hazardous chemicals during its production and disposal.
As long as you don't broil meals in Teflon-coated pans, you should be protected from Teflon exposure. However, if you want to be completely safe, use cookware made of safer materials.
Cast iron and ceramic are both excellent options. Teflon can also be found in the lining of nonstick packaging for microwave popcorn and fast food containers.
6. Transfer Is Unavoidable
For a long time, we've known that there's no way to eliminate little amounts of plastic leaching or migrating into our food. Although the chemical industry accepts this, it emphasizes that the amount is insignificant. What they don't say is that many of these compounds can't be metabolized by the body, so they wind up in our adipose tissue, where they accumulate and grow in concentration over time.
If you're not ready to give up plastic, there are a few options for reducing your exposure. Never heat food in plastic, for example, because this increases the quantity of transfer.
Under the impact of salty, fatty, or acidic diets, the rate of migration rises as well. If you're using plastic wrap to cover food, keep it elevated with toothpicks so the plastic doesn't come into contact with the food.
7. It Causes Environmental Damage And Infiltrates The Food Chain
It's no secret that plastic does not biodegrade and is piling up in landfills at an alarming rate. Worse, it has found its way into our rivers and oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, for example, is a vast collection of floating plastic particles that is only one of several trash "islands" around the planet.
Although plastic does not biodegrade, it does break down into smaller pieces when exposed to sunlight and water. Fish and birds consume these tiny particles, allowing them to enter the food chain. Of course, swallowing so much harmful non-food is wreaking havoc on these animals' populations, diminishing their numbers and putting some of them at risk of extinction.
Because of the abundance of plastic in our food supply, it is difficult to completely avoid it. There are, however, some simple things you can do to reduce your risk. To begin, use glass containers for storage, drinking vessels, and infant bottles. Instead of using plastic wrap to collect splatters in the microwave, use a paper towel.
Hand-washing plastic vessels rather than putting them in the dishwasher is also beneficial, as is discarding any scratched or warped plastic. If we can gradually reduce our reliance on plastic, the earth's and all of its animals' health will increase dramatically.