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Is Toxic Food Packaging Making Us Sick?

takeout burger

One more reason to ditch disposables

If you need another reason to avoid wasteful plastic baggies, takeout containers and packaged food, here it is: The American Academy of Pediatrics urges families to limit their use of certain food containers to lower children’s exposures to chemicals in food packaging. Limiting toxic food packaging is pretty easy if you know what to avoid. Some of the concerns include:

  • phthalates and BPA (used to make some plastic packaging)
  • perfluoroalkyl chemicals or PFCs (used in grease-proof paper and takeout food packaging)

There have been comprehensive bans of these harmful chemicals in food packaging, but it takes time for the laws to take effect, and there’s only a handful of locations and businesses that are participating.

Follow these easy tips to reduce chemical exposure

  • Use alternatives to plastic, like stainless steel
  • Check the recycling code on the bottom of products and avoid plastics with #3, #6 and #7 which may contain phthalates, styrene and bisphenols (like BPA)
  • Keep plastic away from high heat like the microwave and dishwasher
  • Avoid packaged and processed food
  • Choose fresh or frozen produce instead of packaged or canned
  • Avoid processed meats

“The good news is there are safe and simple steps people can take right now to limit exposures, and they don’t have to break the bank. Avoiding canned food is a great way to reduce your bisphenol exposure in general, and avoiding packaged and processed food is a good way to avoid phthalates exposures,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, the lead author of the statement and chief of the division of environmental pediatrics at New York University’s School of Medicine.

Read the full article in the New York Times: Chemicals in Food May Harm Children, Pediatricians’ Group Says.

U-Konserve reusable food-storage containers are tested free of phthalates and BPA, and can help reduce your use of plastic-lined takeout containers, packaged food containers and other disposable packaging. When you pack lunches ahead of time and bring empty containers with you for last-minute visits to restaurants and grocery stores, you’ll not only avoid questionable chemicals, but also reduce trash headed to landfill.

These new guidelines and the recent plastic pollution news and bans should give you the nudge you need to commit to reuse!