It’s the Most Toxic Food Packaging Right Now – Eat This, Not That

In a perfect world, you could happily thank your food delivery driver, open your takeout container, and enjoy dinner in front of a good true-crime streak without a care in the world. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that your burger or Chinese noodles come with toxic chemicals. Especially if the containers they arrived in were made from some type of plastic.

For more, check out 8 fast food chains with the most toxic food packaging.

That’s because the most toxic food packaging is plastic that contains plasticizers such as bisphenols or phthalates, says Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, FACEP, FUHM, FACMT, medical toxicologist and co-medical director of the Center National Capital Poison Control. .

“Plasticizers make plastics more flexible and softer. I think of these chemicals when I think of products like disposable plastic take-out containers and plastic containers sold in grocery stores for food storage,” explains- she. “These types of containers are flexible and become even softer when heated in the microwave.”

Some bisphenols and phthalates can act within the human body as endocrine disruptors, she explains. “This means the chemicals can potentially affect fertility, puberty and even the development of cancer.”

There’s also this: if this plastic is heated – let’s say you’re using a microwave – these chemicals can be transferred from the plastic into the food that is heated. And since food is processed and packaged many times before it gets to your hands, chances are the food we buy contains plasticizers.

In fact, a recent study looked at the levels of orthophthalates and alternative plasticizers in food and food handling gloves from a selection of fast food restaurants in the United States. The results ? Yes, these foods contained detectable levels. Chicken burritos, cheeseburgers and other meat products had the highest content, while cheese pizza had the lowest level of most chemicals. None were detected in French fries.

So should we be worried? “While occasional exposure to bisphenols and phthalates is unlikely to be harmful, long-term exposure to foods that have been heated in containers containing bisphenols and/or phthalates may be dangerous,” says Dr Johnson. -arbor.

“Some populations, such as young children and women of childbearing age, may want to avoid these chemicals altogether, as fertility and endocrine function may be impaired by chronic exposures to these chemicals. Overall, however , there is little risk of harm to adults who use these products occasionally.”

How to avoid plastics with plasticizers

While we can’t choose which take-out containers restaurants use, we can be mindful of the containers and food items we buy.

Look for labels and phrases such as “microwave safe”, “BPA (bisphenol-A) free”, “phthalate free” or “contains no phthalates”.

“Previously, many plastic packages did not carry statements indicating whether the products contained bisphenols or phthalates. Today, as these compounds and their potential health effects are increasingly reported in the media, many companies label their products as ‘BPA-free’ or ‘phthalate-free’,” says Dr. Johnson-Arbor.

If you’re concerned about your take-out container, transfer this food to a dish as soon as you can and avoid destroying the container it came in.

Melissa Fiorenza

Melissa Fiorenza has been writing for over a decade on a range of topics including mental health, nutrition, fitness, parenting and women’s issues. Read more

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