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Posted on 14 April, 2018 at 21:55 Comments comments (7)

The notorious endocrine disruptor BPA is used in many polycarbonate plastic bottles (code 7) to make them clear and hard. Several countries have banned infant cups and bottles containing BPA, and they are subject to a voluntary phase-out from these products in Australia and New Zealand, with large retailers having already removed them.

When heating food in aluminium foil, one option is to put a layer of greaseproof paper between the two.

In most food and drink cans, BPA is found in clear and white inner linings, although an increasing number of manufacturers are phasing it out. 

BPA-free product labelling is commonly found on plastic items for food contact. On the downside, this is liable to give shoppers a misleading impression because BPA-free plastics tend to have xenoestrogenic effects, and in the case of can linings, where there are no code numbers, we cannot be certain that the replacements are safe. Evidence is also emerging that some BPA replacements (such as BPS) may have hormone-disrupting effects of their own


Discover how food packaging affects your health written by Martin Oliver

Posted on 10 March, 2018 at 0:55 Comments comments (0)

Bottled water 

Nearly all bottled water on the shelves is packaged in PET (code 1). While it is a myth that this type of plastic leaches bisphenol-A (BPA), its clean image has been eroded by some recent findings, including the confirmation of xenoestrogenic effects. 

Among the chemicals released in low concentrations by PET bottles are formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. While these sound concerning, there are far higher levels of natural formaldehyde in some fruits and vegetables, including apples and cauliflowers. Antimony compounds are used as PET catalysts, and migration levels are generally very low, although there are exceptions. In 2010, acidic British fruit juice concentrate in PET was found to have up to nine times the EU limit for antimony in tap water.

Another 2013 German study identified roughly 24,500 different chemicals in PET bottled water, all in very low or trace concentrations, with some uncertainty about which originated from the plastic and which were already in the water. The plasticiser DEHF was found to be responsible for much of PET water’s endocrine-disrupting activity. 

As with all plastics, leaving a water bottle in a hot car will accelerate chemical migration and for this reason steel drinking bottles are recommended. Investing in a high-quality home water filter capable of removing fluoride is another way to avoid buying or storing water in plastic.

Discover how food packaging affects your health

Posted on 4 March, 2018 at 23:00 Comments comments (0)

Today, more than 4000 chemicals are used as food contact materials, and added to these are further breakdown products and impurities. For most packaging types, low-level migration into food has been confirmed. This accelerates when foods are heated, at higher ambient temperatures, with acid foods such as tomatoes or vinegar, or when foods are fatty. There are growing concerns about the potential effects of these substances on human health, which some scientists feel have not been fully explored and tested. On the issue of packaging, are informed consumers being slightly paranoid? Or are their concerns justified?

Plastics & xenoestrogens

Compared to other types of food packaging, plastics are chemically the most complex and generally raise the most concerns. Identifiable by an embossed code number ranging from 1 to 7, the safer plastics have traditionally been considered 1, 2, 4 and 5. More problematic plastics are those numbered 3, 6 and 7.

Microwaving food in plastic containers, including those labelled "microwave-safe", increases chemical migration and is not recommended.

Most of the issues with plastics involve xenoestrogens, endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mimic the body’s hormonal system. Health effects include increased risk of a range of conditions including infant brain development issues, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and asthma. Most likely to be affected are pregnant women and very young children.

In 2011, a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives showed that endocrine disruption was prevalent across 455 items with plastic codes 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7, with none of those tested receiving a clean bill of health. A total of 71 per cent of samples exhibited xenoestrogenic activity, with this number increasing to 95 per cent after dishwashing and microwaving. The study’s authors suggested that plastic packaging could be cheaply reformulated to be xenoestrogen-free.

Microwaving food in plastic containers, including those labelled “microwave-safe”, increases chemical migration and is not recommended. Avoiding all contact between plastics and food is another option for people who want to go a step further.

To be continued..........

written by Martin Oliver      Wellbeing Magazine