Sat, Jun 04, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Academics issue warning on plastic food containers

Staff Writer, with CNA

Academics cautioned the public that plasticizers could leach into food and drinks that are stored in plastic containers.

The best way to avoid ingesting plasticizers is to use stainless steel containers instead of plastic ones and to avoid using plastic food wrap, said Lee -Ching-chang (李俊璋), a professor of environmental health at National Cheng Kung University, amid a scare over contamination of food products.

CONTAINERS

Lee said his research showed that by simply switching from plastic containers to stainless steel ones, the level of plasticizers in the bloodstream would drop significantly within the space of a month.

It is also dangerous to use plastic bags as food containers, as hot food or drinks cause the release of harmful chemicals from the plastic, he said.

Furthermore, the public should be aware that even at room -temperature, food or drinks in plastic containers would also cause the release of plasticizers, albeit at lower levels, he said.

VENDORS

While many food vendors use melamine-ware containers that have not been proved to release the chemical di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, they often cover the containers with plastic which could result in plasticizer contamination of the food, he said.

Meanwhile, Lin Chieh-liang (林杰樑), a toxicologist at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, said that polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) wraps are not suitable for food.

MICROWAVE

He also said that it is not safe to microwave food in containers covered with PVC or PVDC wraps.

When this type of wrap is used, plasticizers can easily leach into the food, Lin said.

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