Dangers of Plastic wares in the kitchen
By Madhurie Singh, August 13, 2012
After two weeks of scraping through the internet, I have dared to write the dangers of plastic so dear parents read on and pass it on.
What is Plastic?
Plastic is manmade.
It is made from petrochemicals with several additional chemicals to give it desired volume, flexibility, strength, color, shape and thickness.
Where do we use most commonly that makes way into our bodies?
If you recollect there is hardly any part of our lived where we do not use plastic in any form. (check the table at the bottom to see)
From the Kitchen to the bedroom to the bedroom to the bathroom, it’s everywhere. But I guess it’s most dangerous when we there is close contact with plastic and our body. So think kitchens the most dangerous area from where plastic enters our body.
The plates, containers we store cooked food, water bottles, filters, microwave proof plastics are one of the most dangerous and the other being the plastic containers and the ziplocs plastic bags used in the freezer section of the refrigerators.
The other plastic dangers are from plastic toys that kids chew or play with especially under 3 years age. They suck and chew teethers made of plastic. I am not even counting the dangers from the colors and other chemicals added to make the toys attractive. I guess the age old wooden toys were really the best ones.
How plastic enters our body?
1. Heating in plastic containers, polythene bags, thermocole containers. As you know that plastic is made of tiny plastic beads which is melted and shaped by machines. So when we heat food in the plastic containers, some of the plastic melts and mixes with the heated food. The quantity may be very tiny but with repeated heating the containers starts leaching more. Also the concentration of the plastic we have eaten goes on increasing causing cancer or endocrine diseases.
2. Freezing in plastic containers, like plastic bags, thermocole packs and plastic boxes also causes breaking of the plastic into our food.
What are the chemical which we are exposing our bodies to when we use plastic?
- Lead, cadmium and mercury are known carcinogenic in plastic
- DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate ) in plastic is a known Carcinogenic or causes cancer. (Though there many commonly edible stuff that cause cancer too as causing cancer means triggering the cells to start growing uncontrollably.)
- Many of the contents of the plastic intervene or disturb especially children’s immune system, endocrine system (hormone is secreted in controlled manner by various glands) which leads to problems in growth, height, weight (read obesity), intestine, bones, muscles and blood.
- They cause several hormone related diseases like diabetes, hypo/hyper thyroid, metabolism which later cause more diseases in heart, kidney, intestine, bones, muscles and blood. There are many diseases caused by unknown factors named as Auto immune diseases which I guess are directly related to the change in our endocrine functioning.
- All plastic bottles and containers contains Bisphenol A (BPA) which causes disorders in hormones vis glands, brain cell damage especially in babies, prostrate glands in infants and general behavior.
- Thermocole cups and party plates made of polystyrene contains Styrene. The Styrene is a known cancer causing agent.
- Construction material, furniture laminates, wires, tables and chairs made from PVC contain Plasticizers are known to disrupt our hormonal balance.
- Plastic bags Antioxidants from polyethylene (I did not understand the research papers to add value here L)
- Plastic bottles made of PET contains Acetaldehyde which is a known pollutant and causes respiratory diseases, loss of intelligence and hallucination like narcotics does.
Why are these plastic research papers not given their worthy publicity?
The plastic mafia is as strong as the petroleum, drugs, arms and ammunition and tobacco industry lobby. They control and rule the world of policy makers by sponsoring them for elections and stacking billions in their Swiss bank accounts. The trade off is pretty scary. Life or No Life. Many of the honest research reports are erased out of the history by these powerful industries. J So there will be these around always until the low demand kills them. Shift to other safer options will slowly Control Alter Delete these from areas which are harmful to lives. Though I fully acknowledge the use of plastic in electric cables, construction materials for durability and shape as long as they are not in direct contact with the body.
How can we minimize the use of plastic?
- Stop using plastic feeding bottles, try steel and glass bottles
- No plastic cups and mugs
- No plastic containers to store their milk powder and baby food
- No plastic teethers
- No plastic toys as all babies suck and lick them
- No plastic mats which is in direct contact with the baby skin, use a layer of cloth.
- No heating and freezing plastic bottles
- Stop using plastic fancy baby bags unless it has cloth lining.
- Cloth means natural fibers like cotton, silk, muslin, jute .
- Avoid letting them use fingers for painting and crayons to go into their mouths.
- Plastic doughs used as clays are also avoidable. ( What is left ?)
Remember our generation was exposed to plastic much later in life. But our kids were born with plastic. So time to remove the plastic completely from they contact to reverse the damage done by plastic till now.
- Most important, stop buying food items packed in direct contact with plastic, like curds, milk, ghee, oils and sadly pills
- Stop serving and eating food in thermocole cups, plates in parties. Talk to the host to use glass, ceramic or steel plates
- Make a list of all rooms and plastic items in that room. Slowly start replacing each with wood, metal or glass
- Stop using microwave plastic boxes, instead warm food in glass plates or on gas.
- Ask your office to make the shift from plastic to steel water container
- Shift to steel bottles or glass water bottles like flasks.
- Take lunch boxes made of steel or steel lining
- Start using glass and steel as much possible
- Stop storing food and water in plastic containers
- Stop using polythene bags which comes in direct contact with your food and body as much possible
- Throw away plastic stirrers, ladles and spoons. (with heavy heart I will part with them).
- Throw away the non stick wares (now I am very sad as I bought these a month back!)
- Chewing gums are such a sad thing to part with.
- Shift to natural fabric like cotton, silk, jute, muslin, paper, leather (not sure) even what you wear and what you sit and sleep on.
- Remember your old age health is in your hands. The safer you live today, the healthier you will be tomorrow.
What are different plastic dangers? Reference http://www.ecologycenter.org/factsheets/plastichealtheffects.html
I found this lovely article from where I am copying the table.
|Adverse Health Effects
|Food packaging, plastic wrap, containers for toiletries, cosmetics, crib bumpers, floor tiles, pacifiers, shower curtains, toys, water pipes, garden hoses, auto upholstery, inflatable swimming pools
|Can cause cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, chronic bronchitis, ulcers, skin diseases, deafness, vision failure, indigestion, and liver dysfunction
|Softened vinyl products manufactured with phthalates include vinyl clothing, emulsion paint, footwear, printing inks, non-mouthing toys and children’s products, product packaging and food wrap, vinyl flooring, blood bags and tubing, IV containers and components, surgical gloves, breathing tubes, general purpose lab-ware, inhalation masks, many other medical devices
|Endocrine disruption, linked to asthma, developmental and reproductive effects. Medical waste with PVC and phthalates is regularly incinerated causing public health effects from the release of dioxins and mercury, including cancer, birth defects, hormonal changes, declining sperm counts, infertility, endometriosis, and immune system impairment.
|Polycarbonate, with Bisphenol A (#7)
|Scientists have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems (Environment California)
|Many food containers for meats, fish, cheeses, yogurt, foam and clear clamshell containers, foam and rigid plates, clear bakery containers, packaging “peanuts”, foam packaging, audio cassette housings, CD cases, disposable cutlery, building insulation, flotation devices, ice buckets, wall tile, paints, serving trays, throw-away hot drink cups, toys
|Can irritate eyes, nose and throat and can cause dizziness and unconsciousness. Migrates into food and stores in body fat. Elevated rates of lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers for workers.
|Water and soda bottles, carpet fiber, chewing gum, coffee stirrers, drinking glasses, food containers and wrappers, heat-sealed plastic packaging, kitchenware, plastic bags, squeeze bottles, toys
|Suspected human carcinogen
|Bedding, clothing, disposable diapers, food packaging, tampons, upholstery
|Can cause eye and respiratory-tract irritation and acute skin rashes
|Particle board, plywood, building insulation, fabric finishes
|Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen and has been shown to cause birth defects and genetic changes. Inhaling formaldehyde can cause cough, swelling of the throat, watery eyes, breathing problems, headaches, rashes, tiredness
|Cushions, mattresses, pillows
|Bronchitis, coughing, skin and eye problems. Can release toluene disocyanate which can produce severe lung problems
|Clothing, blankets, carpets made from acrylic fibers, adhesives, contact lenses, dentures, floor waxes, food preparation equipment, disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, paints
|Can cause breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, weakness, headache and fatigue
|Non-stick coating on cookware, clothes irons, ironing board covers, plumbing and tools
|Can irritate eyes, nose and throat and can cause breathing difficulties
For Plastic ( The plastic industry)