The Dangers of Plastic (and Metal)
What our food is packaged in may be as important as how it’s grown. A recent article on Huffington Postreports on the hazards of the chemicals often found in the plastics and metals in the bags, wraps and cans commonly used to package the food we eat.
“Chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and PCV (polyvinyl chloride) have all been found in plastic food packaging, the linings of soda cans and canned food. These chemicals, often referred to as endocrine disruptors, do much more than simply help to protect and contain our food. They can mimic our natural hormones, turning on or off the body's native hormone signals to block natural responses or trigger excessive action.”
Happily, BPA and phthalate levels in people have proven to be significantly reduced with reduced exposure, which means it’s never too late. You may already not be buying bottled water in an effort to reduce global plastic consumption; check the bottles you are using as an alternative — are they BPA free (they’ll almost surely say so on their labels if they are)? Or are you using stainless steel containers, which, because they don’t use liners, don’t contain BPA? Either is a good choice.
And we can look forward to healthier packaging at the supermarket as manufacturers jump on the BPA and toxin-free packaging bandwagon. Odwalla has transitioned its single serve drinks to the PlantBottle™, promising no less than 96 percent and up to 100 percent of the packaging will be made from plant-based materials and that the bottles will be traditionally recyclable. Pepsi and Coca-Cola have also announced plansto move to less toxic, and more sustainable, packaging.
In the meantime, when in doubt, remember that glass and steel are always safe choices for food storage.