A Bowlful of Cherries

Celebrating Matty and Noah

Alternatives to Plastic

There are some benefits provided by plastic food containers and plastic food wraps. Ease of use and disposability among them.

Still, there remain significant and growing questions about the safety of some of these materials because of the migration of additives and breakdown products into food. Scientific debates are currently at play over PVC plastics and their additives (e.g., a variety of phthalates) and bisphenol A, which is polymerized to form polycarbonate and leaches out of aging polycarbonate (the same material used for Tupperware, Rubbermaid, lightweight eyeglass lenses, and compact disks) at rates that depend upon a range of variables (e.g., pH, temperature, etc.). These compounds have deleterious impacts on laboratory animals in controlled experiments at levels of exposure relevant to people. The developmental and physiological mechanisms affected by these compounds in animals are fundamentally very similar to those in humans, especially the developing fetus.

So what to do?

Go old school: ante-plastics. Transport prepared foods in containers made from other materials. Lunch boxes (the metal kind). Wax paper. Foil. Butcher paper. Wax paper (tie with string or rubber bands). Metal thermos. Throw away old plastics.

For refridgerator storage, use glass bowls. There are sets with (plastic) lids. (Plates, dishtowels, or foil make good lid substitutes.) Pyrex can go into the oven, too.

Best of all might be the four-tiered Thai lunch pail, the “tiffin.” Four flat-bottomed metal containers stack together, the second providing a lid for the first, the third providing a lid for the second, and so on. It transports liquid, semi-solid, and solid foods.

Of course: Today’s children are exposed to an incredible amount of toxins from Aunt Mag’s perfume to superabsorbent diapers, not to mention industrial pollutants. Ah….


Written by Michael

16 Mar 2004 at 956am

Posted in Misc.

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