New research from the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) has suggested that parents try to avoid using certain plastics for their children’s food. Unless plastics are labelled as “bio-based” or “green-ware” they could potentially be a health hazard.
The AAP has warned people that plastic should not be heated in microwaves or placed in dishwashers as the chemicals can leach into food when heat is applied.
The following chemicals are considered harmful:
- BPA/bisphenols – Used to make plastic containers harder
- Phthalates – Used to make plastic flexible and fragrances last longer
- Nitrates – Used to preserve food and maintain colour
- PFCs – Found in cardboard and greaseproof paper
- Perchlorate – Found in plastic food packaging
The AAP say that children are particularly at risk when exposed to these chemicals. The advice for parents is to avoid putting children’s food in plastic containers and instead to go for glass or stainless steel ones.
The authors of the report wrote: “Rapidly accumulating scientific evidence suggests that certain chemicals added during the processing of foods and those that may come into contact with food as part of packaging or processing may contributed to disease and disability.
“The potential for endocrine system disruption is of great concern, especially in early life, when developmental programming of organ systems is susceptible to permanent and lifelong disruption.”
The report also listed these recommended steps to boost and protect the health of you and your children:
- Avoid microwaving food or beverages in plastic where possible
- Avoid using plastics in dishwashers
- Try to use glass and stainless steel instead of plastics
- Avoid processed meats (especially during pregnancy)
- Eat lots of fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables when possible
- Encourage hand washing before handling food or drink
- Wash fruits and vegetables that can’t be peeled
- Check recycling codes on plastics and avoid those with recycling codes 3, 6 and 7 (which stand for phthalates, styrene and bisphenols)
Besides health concerns, environmentalists also urge people to ditch plastics where possible, to help protect the planet. While glass containers may be more expensive initially, they are likely to last longer, they’re easier to clean, and are healthier and better for the environment than plastics.
What do you think of this recent research? Do you avoid plastics in your day-to-day life? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.