Five Top Hormonal Disruptors in Plastic Container Foods
Plastic container, also known as polyethylene, is a generic term for any clear plastic container in which a substance can be contained. Most plastic containers have a long shelf life (up to 20 years or more) and are safe for food storage. Although plastic containers are used to store nearly everything, foods and beverages are the most common use thung dung nuoc nhua. Types of plastic container vary by application:
- Plastics with phthalates are used in food containers to prevent bacterial growth and to keep liquids from separating from the container during storage. Phthalates are man-made chemicals that are commonly found in polystyrene and polycarbonate plastics. Most phthalates are phthalate-free. Plastic with phthalates is made in two distinct varieties. High-density polyethylene (HDL) plastic containers that have linings and high levels of insulation are safer because the thermal mass of the plastic keeps harmful chemicals like phthalates from heating up.
- Latex plastics and polypropylene are synthetic and man-made chemicals that contain formaldehyde, a chemical associated with asthma attacks, bronchitis, and cancer. It is very dangerous that the concentrated formaldehyde introduced into the environment can get absorbed into the food or drink. The FDA has advised restaurants and food manufacturers that although the materials are generally free of formaldehyde, the presence may not be guaranteed and the source cannot be identified. Another concern is that some plastics with formaldehyde Leach into liquids during processing. Ingesting a small amount of this chemical is associated with higher risks of developing cancer.
- BPA is a man-made compound that mimics estrogen. Exposure to high levels of this hormone has been linked to breast tumors. This compound is found in nearly all plastic bottles and containers produced in the US. Although BPA is bad for the environment, it is particularly problematic for human health because exposure to high levels can mimic or interfere with normal menstrual cycles. As well, it can affect sperm development and cause hormonal problems. Phthalates are common chemicals found in polystyrene, used to make Teflon, an extremely popular insulating factor for foods.
- Triclosan is a preservative added to a number of plastics, including polycarbonate. This chemical is also found in Teflon, which is used in the linings of canned and bottled food. The Environmental Working Group estimates that daily exposure to phthalates increases the risk of cancer by as much as 50 percent. The wisest choice for avoiding phthalates is to buy foods in glass or stainless steel.
- The plastic food containers made from recycled milk bottles are the best choices. There are no hormones or other chemicals introduced to produce the color or flavor. The FDA does warn consumers to avoid foods that may contain recycled plastics, but that is only if the container has been colored, molded, or treated inside and out. If you want to know what is in your container, check the label.