A recent survey has revealed that food packaging material which includes plastic food packaging containers (available in a huge number of sizes, shapes and attractive designs (and food boxes, have as much as 170 types of dangerous chemicals which are extremely harmful for humans and if exposed to such chemicals for prolonged time can have serious consequences.

Warning From Scientists

Scientists have warned consumers and packaging supplies companies that these toxic chemicals which are used in packaging material are extremely dangerous and can even cause cancer, liver infections, can affect changes in genes and can even lead to damage to the nerves and neurological disorders in children. However, this does not mean that all food packaging material is harmful and dangerous. Scientists have mentioned that all food boxes or plastic food packaging material which follow standards and follow all regulations are not harmful, as long as the chemicals are used within their ‘restrictions and limitation’. It is important to ensure that material used in packaging supplies are within permitted limits and cannot be potentially harmful in such a case.

 

How is it Dangerous?

What happens when these chemicals are used beyond their permitted levels? As per as Food Additives and Contaminants journals, if chemicals were used beyond their permitted levels they would interfere with sperm production in men, cause hormonal problems, can lead to genital malformations and can also lead to brain damage in unborn babies. MD of Food Packaging Forum, Doctor Jane Muncke says: ‘From a consumer perspective, it is certainly undesirable and also unexpected to find chemicals of concern being intentionally used in food contact materials.’ Study has revealed about a large number of chemicals which were dangerously used in food storage buckets by several food packaging suppliers.

Phthales is one chemical which is used in food packaging material at an alarming rate. This can be extremely dangerous for food packaging and can lead to problems in fertility and even cancer. Food wrapping, commonly used in food  boxes packing and one of the most common food packaging supplies is loaded with organotin and benzophenones which is used in printing inks. If humans consume this chemical (which mixes easily with hot food, wrapped with the material), it leads to infections and severe digestive disorders.

Often we face digestion issues after having food at our restaurant and we blame it to the food we had at the place and probably believe that overeating or too much consumption is the reason behind indigestion! This is not always true – the food wrapper in which you bought home your favorite burger or sausage must be the culprit. Food wrappers are supposed to keep food safe and fresh but unfortunately in the process of keeping it safe, these wrappers slowly transmit their chemicals and toxic materials to the food. It has been known that foil used in food storage buckets or other plastic food packaging containers release harmful chemicals in the food at very low levels. Unaware and completely innocent, consumers happily consume the food – realizing very little the harm they are doing for themselves. This can be too dangerous if consumed has this on a daily basis.

Lead researcher Leonardo Trasande of New York University School of Medicine, was asked if slight rise in blood pressure, can be anyway associated with the use of plastic food packaging used to pack food, since this has become a matter of immense debate.  It has been clinically proved that there was a significant rise in blood pressure that is closely associated with the packaging material used. Leonardo explains “We know that phthalates damage the walls of arteries by oxidative stress and they may directly damage heart cells, We know these chemicals get into food from plastic wrappings and gloves, and that they are in PVC flooring and cosmetics. We think they may have a effect on cardiovascular health and that children and adolescents should have limited exposure.” It can no longer be denied that plastic food packaging is harmful for human body.

A lot has been spoken about the use of these toxic substances in plastic food packaging and food boxes and to what extent these should be used. Most of the chemicals and substances used by food packaging suppliers are inert and are known to slowly leach out the food consumed by us. Though many of these chemicals are regulated, people who consume foods from food boxes or food storage buckets are generally exposed to low levels of toxic chemicals. Though many packaging suppliers claim that these are not harmful but often tend to be a risk, especially in conditions of crucial human development stages like in the womb!

It is difficult to conclude whether food boxes or food storage buckets should be completely avoided and whether to stop their usage completely. We just need to ensure that suppliers understand the significance of packaging which will help consumers.

 

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