Why you should never use plastic food containers

Why you should never use plastic food containers

Plastics are not only ruining the earth but your health as well. Why you should never use plastic food containers is a topic I think everyone who cares about his or her health should know. 

While some plastic containers are safe, others just ruin your health. Plastic contains harmful toxins that increase fertility and reproductive problems, contain chemicals that cause obesity, and worst of all they are ruining the planet. 

To begin with;

What is plastic and what is it made of?

Plastics are a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials usually made from polymers as the main ingredient.  Plastics are organic materials that are made from natural products such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt, and, of course, crude oil. Plastics are used to make a lot of things that we use in our day-to-day life. 

You will find plastics in clothes, home Equipements, containers, shoes, cars, toys, screens mention them all.  The reason why plastic is popularly used is that it can easily be molded into anything as the material allows it to be pressed, cast, coated, or extruded into any shape. 

Additionally, plastics are cheap to manufacture and are strong to withstand harsh conditions such as stress, weather, heat, and others. 

Plastics are strong and take close to 1,000 years to decompose. This is actually a disadvantage because it ruins the earth. 

Reasons you should never use plastic food containers.

Have you been advised against the use of plastic food containers? , If not so, here are the reasons why you should avoid the use of plastic containers. 

  1. Plastics food containers may contain toxic compounds.

A lot of known and other diseases are caused by chemicals found in plastic food containers. Diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease, vision impairment, and many other health problems are linked to chemicals found in plastics. 

  1. Increased fertility and reproductive problems.

Toxic chemicals in plastics have a negative effect on the regulation of hormones that are responsible for reproduction and fertility. For example, BPA is known for causing difficulty for women to conceive as well as increasing the risk of miscarriages. 

Some research also claims that toxins found in plastics can cause birth defects and developmental problems in children. 

  1. Chemicals in plastics can cause obesity.

Obesity is also linked to chemicals in plastics. Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE) a chemical widely found in plastics may cause stem cells to become fat cells according to a new research published in Environmental Health Perspectives. 

According to one of the study’s authors, “Exposure to these kinds of chemicals can reprogram your metabolism and make it more likely for you to store calories instead of passing them through.” 

  1. Plastics are ruining the earth.

The planet is bleeding and plastics are the main cause of this. From land to the oceans, plastics are everywhere. 

The fact that plastic takes 1000 years to decompose, the more traffic manufactured the greater the risk of the earth being destroyed gets greater. 

It sticks around in the environment causing a threat to life as it spreads toxins. Global warming is also being caused by the increasing quantity of plastics ij the environment. 

Why you should never use plastic food containers

Are plastic food containers safe?

No, the compounds in plastic food containers can leach into your foods and when they are ingested, they cause health problems. 

More problems arise when these plastics are exposed to heat as some particles melt and get into the food or beverages. 

Plastics containers have got harmful toxins. 

The use of plastics increases the risk of health problems as you grow older.  Most of the plastics we use contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the human body. 

 A studyOpens in a new tab. published in a journal by Environmental Science and Technology revealed that 74% of the 34 everyday plastic products made of eight types of plastics had toxic substances including baseline toxicity (62%), oxidative stress (41%), cytotoxicity (32%), estrogenicity (12%), and antiandrogenicity (27%). 

Still in the same studyOpens in a new tab., there were plastic compounds that are toxic but still remained unidentified. Since those plastic compounds can’t be identified, they pose a challenge to manufacturers, public health authorities, and researchers. 

According to Martin Wagner, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the study was meant ‘‘ to tell people which plastic types to use and which not [to use],”.  He added “But it was more complicated than that.” since some compounds couldn’t be identified. 

Although some pounds in plastics may not be toxic, the fact that some compounds remain unidentified poses a challenge and risk. 

Examples of toxic chemicals in plastics that you should avoid. 

these are plastic softeners used to make something less brittle. Since this chemical does not tightly bond with the molecules in plastic, it can easily move from plastics to the bodies. 

They are used in a wide range of products such as building materials, food production, packaging, medical devices, personal care products like cosmetics. They are widely spread throughout our lives making them a great threat. Phthalates are linked to reproductive problems in baby boys, asthma, allergic reactions, and development disorders. 

According to Project TENDROpens in a new tab., Phthalates are toxic to brain development especially to children causing depression, problems with conduct, and aggression. 

One can get exposed to Phthalates through food, toys, cosmetics, food packaging, and other products. 

  • BPAOpens in a new tab. & BPA Substitutes: 

BPA which stands for bisphenol A is an industrial chemical that is used to make certain plastics and resins. 

BPA and some of its substitutes are among the most toxic chemicals in plastics with a lot of health risks. They were banned by the FDA from being used in baby feeding products in 2012 but are being used in other products. 

BPS which is a replacement of BPA is also toxic and has the same hormone-disrupting effects as BPA does. 

BPAOpens in a new tab. is found in the polycarbonateOpens in a new tab. plastics which are often used to store food and beverages such as water bottles. 

Epoxy resins that are also found in the BPA chemicals are used to coat inside the metal products such as food containers, bottle tops, and water supply lines. 

Some research shows that BPA can migrate into the food or beverages from containers that were made using BPA. 

Exposure to BPA has health risks for the brain and prostate glands of infants and children. BPA also increases the risk of blood pressure. 

PVC is one of the most toxic plastic health for health and the environment. It releases a lot of chemicals such as dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicalsOpens in a new tab. during its production. 

PVC is a major source of phthalates, and these two are linked to birth defects in baby boys, testicular cancer, liver problems, and early onset of puberty in girls – which is a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.  

The chemicals in PVC can evaporate into the air and get into bodies especially of children. Even when burned or buried, PVC can leak harmful chemicals into the environment thus contaminating it. 

Which plastic food containers are safe for food?

Not all plastic food containers contain harmful plastic compounds. These are usually plastic containers made with high-quality material that does melt or emit toxins even when heated. 

Here is what you should know.  

The code: On the bottom of the plastic food containers, you will find a number inside a triangle. The number ranges from 1 to 7.  

This number indicates what the plastic is made, looking for certain numbers will help you choose a safe food container. The safest food containers have numbers 1, 3, 4, and 5. 

Food containers with numbers 3, 6, and 7 should be avoided.  

Example of safe plastic symbol

Reasons to avoid these numbers; 

  • Plastic number 3 contains vinyl or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). 
  • Plastic number 6 contains polystyrene 
  • Plastic number 7 contains chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA). 

Quality of the plastic. 

Have you ever seen a poor-quality food container that you feel disappointed about owning? If it looks fake and cheap, it is most probably made from harmful plastic.  These are the type of plastic food containers that you should avoid.  

A food container that loses color while in use is a terrible one to use as chemicals might ve melting into your food or beverages during use or when heated. 

Plastics food containers you can use in the microwave.

Heat can cause the BPA and Phthalates in plastics to leach into your food and this simply means that plastic containers containing these chemicals shouldn’t be used in the microwave. 

You shouldn’t use plastic food containers in the microwave instead try using microwave-safe glass or ceramic containers. 

Plastic containers that are labeled ”microwave safeOpens in a new tab.” can be used in the microwave. 

How do you tell if plastic food containers are microwave safe? 

Check the bottom of the container for a symbol that indicates it’s safe for use in a microwave. This is usually a symbol of a microwave with some wavy lines on it.  A plastic container with a number 5 in the triangle is also safe for use in a microwave since its made polypropylene which is generally considered microwave safe. 

Plastic food container alternatives.

There are safer food container alternatives that you can use besides plastics and they are; 

Glass storage containers. 

These are made out of glass and usually have plastic lids. They are quite easy to find, are affordable and most are dishwasher friendly. With the glass containers, you don’t need to worry about harmful toxins going into your food. Just don’t throw them down or hit hard against each other as they break. 

Silicone containers. 

These are hybrids between synthetic rubber and synthetic plastic polymer. They are neither plastic nor rubber and this makes them safe than plastic containers. 

Cloth Food Sacks. 

They are made of cloth and can be used to store dry snacks. 

Glass jars. 

Made of glass usually with metallic lids, these jars may be the best option to store liquid foods or beverages. 

Metallic containers. 

Made of metal, these containers are safer than plastic. They shouldn’t however be used in microwaves. 

The bottom line.

Try to avoid the use of plastics where possible and use safer food storage containers. This will not only save your health but also the earth as well. Where you cant do without plastic, choose safer plastic containers that don contain harmful chemicals.


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