The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Health concerns mount after study shows chemicals quickly leach out into food from plastic packaging

In a study published last year in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers put five San Francisco families on a three-day diet of food that hadn’t been in contact with plastic. When they compared urine samples before and after the diet, the scientists were stunned to see what a difference a few days could make: The participants’ levels of bisphenol A (BPA), which is used to harden polycarbonate plastic, plunged — by two-thirds, on average — while those of the phthalate DEHP, which imparts flexibility to plastics, dropped by more than half.

by Larry Geller

What to do? We’re eating organic wherever possible. Now, it seems, even chemical-free food can pick up chemicals from the plastic packaging it sits in on the store shelf.

The findings seemed to confirm what many experts suspected: Plastic food packaging is a major source of these potentially harmful chemicals, which most Americans harbor in their bodies.

[Washington Post, If the food’s in plastic, what’s in the food?, 4/16/2012]

Manufacturers are reluctant to tell food processors what chemicals are used or present in the packaging they rely on. The story relates Stonyfield Farm’s attempt to find out what chemicals might be in the a corn-based plastic they wanted to use for a yogurt product aimed at children. Check it out.

For concerned consumers, avoiding packaging chemicals is not easy—but there is a partial solution:

Instead of buying packaged products, buy fresh organically-grown produce at a local farmers market.

Of course, some of it is still sold in plastic bags. Perhaps this is something to take up with the farmers. At least it will not have been in contact with the plastic very long.

Now, I’m wondering about Zip-lock and similar storage bags…

“The whole system is stacked in favor of the food and packaging companies and against the protecting of public health,” Nudelman, of the Breast Cancer Fund, says. She and others are concerned that the FDA relies on manufacturers to provide migration data and preliminary safety information, and that the agency protects its findings as confidential. So consumers have no way of knowing what chemicals, and in what amounts, they are putting on the table every day.

Is this an over-reaction? It seems to be a growing concern, but one that won’t necessarily make it onto the pages of daily newspapers any time soon.


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