Is Plastic Food Packaging A Health Risk?

 
12-Jan-2011 by

Plastic food packaging poses health risk

We are surrounded by plastics and we can’t even think of living without using plastics. Apart from many other uses, plastic is highly used in food packaging. But have we ever assessed the impact of plastic food packaging on our health. Is it a health risk? People have various opinions on this issue and it’s difficult to answer this. But the area of concern is that the chemical compounds of plastic are showing its presence in human blood levels which is not a good sign. Many research studies have indicated that plastic food packaging cause harm to our body but we are not able to see it right now, as the results are reflected in the long run.

 

It has been found that plastic food packaging is not safe as plastic leaks chemicals such as bisphenol A into the packed food. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a hard clear chemical that is used in manufacturing the plastic. We don’t find the risk of plastic food packaging immediately because BPA leached into the body from plastic food packaging doesn’t provides immediate harm. Instead the adverse affects of bisphenol A will show up after many years. It poses greater risk to our health as it mimics the hormone estrogen and disrupts the normal endocrine system. In some way or other BPA leads to higher risks of prostate cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, reduced fertility and even diabetes.

 

Chemicals like polyvinyl chloride and DEHP are found in the food wraps. They are present in plastics that are used in packaging various foods such as milk, fish and oils. High levels of these chemicals have been linked to asthma, liver and kidney damage, and reproductive problems.

 

After assessing the risk of plastic packaging, Canada has officially declared Bisphenol A, a toxic chemical and would ban its food-related use in the near future. Other countries, including USA have not adopted such strict measures; they are waiting for more confirmed results.

 

As I mentioned in the very beginning that plastic food packaging has become a way of our life so it would be very difficult to eliminate the use of plastic. But considering the health hazards of plastic food packaging especially of BPA, we should at least try to limit our dependence on it.

 

Image Courtesy: flickr

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