Effects of plastics on health

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Overview

Many of chemical additives in plastic products composition, besides possible safety problems which may occur during the production process, have negative effects on the environment and human health.

These effects can include:
- Direct toxicity, such as lead, cadmium and mercury
- Risk of cancer
- Endocrine disorders that can lead to cancer, birth defects, immune system suppression and developmental problems in children.


Contents

1. Overview
2. Substances migration from packaging plastic into content
3. Recommendations
4. Dioxin
5. Carcinogens
6. Polymers
7. Conclusions


Substances migration from packaging plastic into content

People are exposed to several chemicals not only during the manufacturing process but simply by using plastic containers because some chemicals migrate from the plastic packaging content.

Examples of plastics contaminating food have been reported for several types of plastic, including styrene, polystyrene, PVC, polyethylene and acetaldehyde antioxidants found in PETs.

Among the factors that control migration include chemical structure of substances that are released and packaged food nature. According to studies, LDPE, HDPE and PP bottles released measurable levels of BHT, chimassorb 81, irganox PS800, irganix 1076 and irganox 1010 in vegetable oils and ethanol content. There was evidence that acetaldehyde can migrate from PET in water too.


Recommendations

Appropriate would be to find alternatives to buying plastic products, whenever possible. Here are some suggestions in this regard:
- Buy foods packed in glass or metal containers
- Avoid heating food in plastic containers or storing fatty foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap
- Do not give young children teething rings or plastic toys that kids will bring in mouth
- Avoid the use of PVC and styrene products.


Dioxin

Dioxin is a chemical found in plastic film and packaging. Dioxin compounds have been associated with the risk of birth defects and cancer. In plastic packaging, there are two levels of dioxin. Dioxin is released and can migrate into food when heated at high temperatures.


Carcinogens

When a plastic bag is placed in a microwave oven and heated, a component called plasticizer can be transferred to food. The suspected form is diethylhexyl adipate – a carcinogen.


Polymers

Plastic is a synthetic polymer. In polymers group are also starch, latex and cellulose. Combined with various chemicals and chemical products used in various formulations, the polymer is included in nylon.

At high temperatures, such as microwave ovens temperature, polymers can migrate into food from plastic packaging.


Conclusions

Although experts have confirmed the presence of these chemicals in plastic packaging composition, however, has not been demonstrated any health risk associated with the release of chemicals in food and beverages.

However, according to other experts is that there is a direct correlation between chemicals in plastic packaging used for foods and health risks caused by harmful chemicals.

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