Thursday, May 17, 2012

Plastics and you

In recent posts I have mentioned the dangers of chemicals migrating out of polyester clothing and plastic liquid containers and onto or into your body. The dangers of plastics go further than that though.

We don't know which plastics present the most danger of leaching plasticisers into what we eat and drink. The plastics manufacturers aren't going to give us a straight answer, their business success depends on selling as much as possible of their product. The food manufacturers aren't necessarily going to tell us the truth either until they know that their packagings are truly safe because a bad answer will knock their sales.

We have to depend on government or independent testing laboratories, with no ties to the plastics or food processing industries, to supply honest answers. The testing that they have done has shown that there are chemicals that escape from the plastics, particularly under elevated temperatures and that this applies to many types of food packaging. Some of these chemicals are proven carcinogens, i.e. they cause cancer. Carcinogens in the digestive system are bad news, resulting in cancers of the various parts of the digestive system, most importantly the colon. This is where the bad chemicals are likely to spend the most time before being eliminated from your system.

The chemicals in the colon also affect the immune system, putting it out of balance. This can result in all sorts of autoimmune conditions, including psoriasis and arthritis. It is worthwhile to improve this situation by:-

1) Minimising the intake of chemicals out of food packaging

2) Getting them out of your body as fast as possible by ensuring that your digestive system is working properly

These chemicals may come out of any plastic containers that you use to cook or heat food in your microwave. That includes plastic packaging containing TV meals and other frozen pre-prepared meals that you either cook or heat in the microwave. Carcinogens have also been identified in coatings used to preserve the inside surfaces of food cans and have been proven to migrate into the food.

The problem is that we don't know fully which packaging does this and which doesn't. Until the food packaging industry cleans up its act this danger will exist. In the meantime I try to minimise consuming products that have been both in contact with plastics and at elevated temperatures. Many of these products are over-processed and bad for health anyway, so minimising them can only be a benefit.