Plastic food packaging such as food wrappers and cans contain at least one of two chemicals that are potentially harmful to the body: Bisphenol A and DEHP. These chemicals can mix into the food which can then enter the body.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Bisphenol A, or BPA as it is more commonly known, is utilized in producing polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. These plastics are used as containers and packaging for a number of foods and beverages. BPA resin is used to coat metal food and beverage containers like bottle tops, food cans, and even water pipes. Polycarbonate bottles, more commonly known as plastic transparent bottles, are made from a polymer of BPA.
According to studies conducted, liquids which have been contained in BPA-lined containers have been found to contain traces of BPA. The highest level of BPA content were found in canned peas. Other liquids from canned products which were found to contain BPA include canned artichokes, and canned beans. A significant level of BPA in the body may possibly lead to an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers, brain disorders and heart diseases. Research have also shown that this chemical disrupts the body’s hormonal systems, which could possibly lead to reproductive and developmental problems.
DEHP is a chemical used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC is a polymer of plastic commonly used in a wide variety of products, including food. Because PVC is normally a hard plastic, a softener such as DEHP, is incorporated into it in order to make it more flexible and suitable to be a container.
Everyday, everyone is exposed to minute levels of DEHP. However, there are some who are exposed to a greater amount of it because of some medical procedures as most medical devices and materials contain DEHP. Examples of these DEHP containing medical materials include IV tubing and bags, blood bags, dialysis bags and feeding bags. Also, PVC food containers also contain DEHP. Thus, it is always possible that small amounts of DEHP enter the body through food intake.
Like BPA, DEHP has also been found to increase the risk of certain cancers, brain disorders and heart diseases. This chemical also disrupts the hormone system of both humans and animals, which can lead to reproductive problems.
Reducing BPA and DEHP Levels in the Body
In order to reduce BPA and DEHP levels in the body, it is recommended to eat mostly fresh and unprocessed food. Taking in foods and beverages that have not been stored in plastic containers reduces the level of BPA and DEHP in the body. Ultimately, a decrease in the amount of these chemicals in the body also reduces the possibility for developing serious medical conditions.