There is no denying the fact that plastic items have become an indispensable part of our life, so much so that from food storage to toiletries, plastic bags to water bottles, we are fully dependent on plastic. Even though plastic has contributed largely to the technological advancement in the form of electronic gadgets like computers, laptops, mobile phones and others, using plastic for food-related purposes is a bad idea. In this article, we will be discussing why you should avoid using plastic food containers.
How Plastic Is Made?
Plastic is made from natural products like coal, natural gas, cellulose, salt and crude oil which undergo a process called polymerization in the presence of catalysts. The resulting compounds called polymers are further processed with additives to make plastic.
Types Of Plastic Used For Food And Beverages
The plastic used for food storage include the following:
1. Polyethylene terephthalate used to make plastic bottles, and salad dressing bottles and plastic jars.
2. High-density polyethylene used in milk jugs, and low-density polyethylene used in plastic bags and plastic wraps.
3. Polypropylene used in yogurt containers, bottle caps and straws.
4. Polystyrene used in food containers, disposable plates, food packaging and vending cups.
5. Polystyrene used in water and baby bottles, food storage containers, beverage containers and small appliances.
What Makes Plastic So Toxic?
Well, all the credit goes to the chemicals. Around 5-30 different chemicals are used in a single plastic part. Baby bottles have many plastic parts that contain 100 or more chemicals.
Read on to know the reasons why you should be avoiding plastic food storage containers.
1. Chemicals In Plastic Lead To Weight Gain
Plastic contains Bisphenol A (BPA), a compound that acts like estrogen in the human body and binds to estrogen receptors in the body. This compound disrupts the regulation of body weight and promotes weight gain and insulin resistance. Multiple studies have linked BPA exposure with obesity and weight gain. One such study published in the Journal of Lipid Research has shown that BPA exposure increased the number of fat cells in the body.
2. Harmful Compounds Enter The Foods
Do you know that microwaving food in plastic containers aren't advisable as plastic has the tendency to release chemicals once heated? When plastic comes in contact with estrogen hormones inside the body, it increases the risk of several diseases like heart disease, diabetes, neurological disorders, cancer, thyroid dysfunction, genital malformations and more.
3. Causes Fertility And Reproductive Problems
Phthalate is another harmful chemical used to make plastics soft and flexible. They are found in food containers, beauty products, toys, paints and shower curtains. This toxic chemical has a negative effect on immunity and regulates hormones, both of which directly affects fertility.
In addition to that, BPA can lead to miscarriages and make it difficult for women to conceive. Research also shows that toxins found in plastic can cause birth defects and developmental problems in children.
Ways To Lower The Risk Of Plastic Exposure
Here are a few changes that you could make:
- Take your own jute or cloth shopping bag instead of taking a plastic bag.
- Don't place plastic containers in the sun and place them in cool areas to prevent leaching of chemicals.
- Avoid using plastic food and beverage containers and use eco-friendly alternatives to plastic.
- Replace plastic bottles with glass bottles.
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