Refresh: Plastic! Not so fantastic!

The topic of plastic is suddenly ‘hot’ because of the massive damage to the environment that waste plastic causes. Suddenly social media is full of it and that’s great – making everyone aware of the problem is a good thing, and all the petitions to halt the use of plastic are brilliant, but I don’t want to talk about that, I want to talk about the dangers of eating/drinking from food/drinks packed in plastic. About the detrimental damage plastic can do to your health and that of your family.

Debbie Jenner Pilates Company
Not so fantastic | Photo: Debbie Jenner

When I think back to growing up in the 1960’s we didn’t have much food packed in plastic. We didn’t really even have supermarkets where I lived. There were co-ops and ‘convenience stores’, but most food was not pre-packed and shopkeepers would put produce in paper bags. Glass and jars and bottles were used intead of plastic. I’m sure of it. Of course we had tins, but I wonder whether they were lined with the same plastic resin that they are now lined with, I don’t think so? If you like me, ask yourself why do we have so much dis-ease in the world compared to 40 and 50 years ago, then you can’t help think that maybe the development and overuse of plastic is one of the contributing factors.

Concern
There is growing evidence that food can be contaminated by harmful chemicals leaking from some types of plastic. Two plastics of particular concern are polycarbonate and PVC.

Polycarbonate is often used in containers and bottles, and the resin is used to line cans. It can release bishenol A (BPA) which health experts now believe can cause serious health problems.

PVC is used to make bottles, cling-wrap and the seals on screw-top jars. Phthalates and other chemicals like ESBO (epoxidised soybean oil) are often added to PVC to make it more pliable and then used in food packaging.

BPA and phthalates are both endocrine disruptors, meaning they can mimic the body’s natural hormones and thereby cause a whole array of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, prostate and breast cancer and infertility.

Not all packaging is dangerous, but if you want to avoid the more risky packaging then read labels – if the product is labelled – it is not compuslory. Information about the packaging is often found on the bottom of the bottle/container/tin.

Avoid the codes 3 (PVC) or 7 (polycarbonate).

Avoid food wrapped in cling film. Most cling film sold for domestic use is made from a less harmful substance, but many supermarkets and retailers are still using cling wrap made from PVC.

Look for products that say BPA-free.

Buy water in glass bottles if you can, you never know whether a plastic water bottle has stood in a hot warehouse somewhere leaking chemicals into the water.

Cut-down on canned food as the lining can leach BPA into the food.

Avoid using plastic containers when cooking in a microwave (or oven). Use glass containers as much as possible.

Glue
And I’ve just read an article on the deadly toxicity of the glue used on food labels… yet another health hazard it seems! It’s not really good news is it?! Plastic is in my mind mankinds worst invention!

I do make a conscious effort to avoid plastic as much as possible when I shop, but I hope that in future that will be made much easier and that plastic is slowly phased out altogether. Yes its better for the environment, but its definitely better for our health too it seems.

In future Blogs I will look deeper into the subject of plastic in our lives, because it is also in our homes in places you probably haven’t even thought of, and I will also at the many healthy packaging options… so watch this space!

Debbie

 

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