Chemicals in Plastic Packaging Pose Health Risks

Plastic packaging is often used in the food packaging industry to store food items.

Lab Testing

This product has grown in popularity in recent years due to its durability and low costs of production. Modern forms of this type of packaging are also recyclable which makes them have a higher consumer demand as people wish to contribute to the eco-friendly lifestyle factors.

Despite the increase in the amount of packaging that is biodegradable and recyclable some people see this type as a major source of pollution with plastic contributing to both marine and land pollution issues. Plastic items are known to take centuries to degrade and break down.

However, the main issue is that there have been some studies that have shown that there are some risks associated with the use of plastic packaging. Some studies have claimed to show that chemicals in the plastics may be able to leak into food items they hold, which can be harmful to human health.

Chemicals in Plastic Packaging – What the Studies Say
Recently, a study conducted by NYU Langone Medical Centre’s researchers found that the use of two chemicals, namely the DINP and the DIDP in plastic packaging, poses health risks, especially for children and adolescents.

A decade ago, these chemicals, Di-isononyl Phthalate (DINP) and Di-isodecyl phthalate (DIDP), emerged as an alternative to the dangerous Phthalate-di-2-Ethylhexyl Phthalate (DEHP), in the manufacture of chemical packaging materials. The change followed a report that found that some people using plastic containers with DEHP were found to have developed high blood pressure.

The study of DEHP was initially conducted by Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a professor at the NYU Medical Centre, and now he has decided to follow up his original research with a much closer investigation into the two alternative replacements to DEHP in plastic packaging too.

Studies into DINP and DIDP have become a necessary act as the chemicals used have been introduced by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Study Results – Risk to Children’s Health
The study conducted by Dr. Leonardo included a sample size of 365 children, aged 12-19 years, who provided urine samples. The objective of the study was to measure the levels of DINP and DIDP in the urine and check their insulin resistance.

The analysis of the study stated that there was a strong link between high Phthalate levels used in plastic packaging and the subject’s insulin resistance. It was also found that the high Phthalate levels made the subjects more prone to the risk of diabetes.

The second phase of the study included urine samples from 1,300 adolescents that were aged between 8 to 19 years. This part of the study wanted to establish the relationship between Phthalate levels and blood pressure.

The analysis of the second phase results showed that the higher the usage of Phthalate, the higher the tendency of hypertension.

Dr. Leonardo stated that the research indicated that these harmful chemicals might be independent contributors to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and metabolic ailments. The study also suggested that plastic packaging should immediately be replaced with paper or more suistainable materials.

In addition to the findings, it was recommended that the consumption of fresh food is the best option as it would avoid dangerous chemicals that are used in the production of plastic bags.

Plastic Packaging – The Potential Risks – An Overview
Packaging made of plastic is a common sight in household products, from drink and food packaging to personal & fabric care items such as shampoo, detergents and hand cream. While plastic is lightweight and convenient to use in a business, when used as packaging it can release chemicals into the environment.

The plastic used in packaging is often made with chemicals, such as Bisphenol A (BPA), that can get into food items and potentially cause health problems. Also, another risk is the potential for microplastics to contaminate the environment and get into the food chain.

Microplastics are small particles that can be released into the environment when plastic packaging is not recycled properly. These small plastic pieces can enter the food chain and into oceans which can damage humans, fish, and animals.

Plastic waste, despite being fully recyclable in many instances, can end up in landfills, where it takes many years to decompose. The issues surrounding biodegradable delays mean that soil contamination and pollution can occur.

Packaging that is made from chemicals, including Polyethylene, Polypropylene, and Polystyrene, is potentially harmful when used in both drinks and food packaging. Examples of risks include Bisphenol A, which has been linked to hormone disruption and other health problems.

Due to such reports like Dr. Leonardo’s businesses are encouraged to use other resources in their packaging which pose less health risk and are more environmentally friendly. An overall solution needs to be found to move food and drink packaging for customers to a different material source.

To read more articles about product packaging please browse our website.

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