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    Beware of Adverse Effect of Plastic on Human Health | Dr. Shakeel Ahmed

    Plastic is used in everyday life, unfortunately that doesn’t mean it is safe. It is most widely used for packaging, because it is easily and inexpensively produced from uniform raw materials and is flexible as well as durable. Plastic contains many different chemicals, some of them are carcinogenic. Generally, there are three types of plastics:
    1.      Designed for household plastic
    2.      Used to hold gardening supplies
    3.      Specially made to store food and liquid we eat and drink


    In type three plastic, plasticizers are added to plastic to make them flexible and stable particularly at high temperature. During heating at high temperature, these chemicals may leach out and get absorb by the packed food in plastic.
    Microwaving food in plastic container virtually guarantees that food will be contaminated with chemicals present in plastic that have been leached out during heating process.
    Generally, plastic contains Bisphenol-A (BPA) as plasticiser which is endocrine disruptor linked to number of health concerns particularly in pregnant women, foetuses and young children. In adults, it causes structural damages to brain, change in gender specific behaviour, increase aggressiveness, early puberty, etc.

    Plastic contains phthalates, which makes plastic soft and flexible. Phthalates are group of gender bending chemicals also disrupt endocrine system, linked to preterm birth and neurobehavioral problems in infants after in-utero exposure. It also increases blood pressure and urinary level.  Both of these chemicals (BPA and Phthalates) which are called “everywhere chemicals” as they are so common used in countless plastic products we use every day.

    Plastic also contains phthalates, which makes plastic soft and flexible. Phthalates are group of gender bending chemicals also disrupt endocrine system, linked to preterm birth and neurobehavioral problems in infants after in-utero exposure. It also increases blood pressure and urinary level.  Both of these chemicals (BPA and Phthalates) which are called “everywhere chemicals” as they are so common used in countless plastic products we use every day.
    These are used in baby bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups, teethers, etc. It is believed that both of these chemicals can leach out from plastic directly into mouth of children while sucking on pacifiers or teethers.
    Food trays, egg containers, carryout containers and opaque plastic cutlery may contain styrene—possible human carcinogen classified by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

    Food trays, egg containers, carryout containers and opaque plastic cutlery may contain styrene—possible human carcinogen classified by International Agency for Research on Cancer(IARC).

    Washing of plastic containers in a dish washer and scratches have found to increase rate of leaching. Heating appears to be worst offender of all as it increase rate of transfer by 55fold.
    Leakage of numerous toxic chemicals from packaging of common microwaveable food (including pizza, popcorn, burger, etc.) include PET, benzene, toluene, xylene, etc. which are also not safe for health as reported in journal-Nutrition Action Letters.
    Non-sticky cookwares such as non-sticky pan or tawa can also leach another toxic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) into our cooked food used in making of PTFE plastic. These chemicals are denounced by researchers to be carcinogenic, thyroid disease and infertility.

    Care:

    · Avoid plastic container made up of polycarbonate as it   contains BPA and phthalates.
    · Avoid plastic container marked with a #1 and #7PC.
    · Avoid heating plastic in microwave as it increases risk of leaching.
    · Use glass, porcelain and stainless steel container for hot food and liquids.
    · Use stainless steel containers as cookwares.


    About the author: Dr. Shakeel Ahmed is working as an Assistant Professor at Govt. Degree College Mendhar.


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