More plasticizers due to more food delivery – 8 million tons annually – harmful? – Food log

You can worry about everything these days, now that daily life is again imposed all kinds of adjustments and Glasgow has failed. Phthalates in the hamburger box are probably not for most people now top of mind. Wrongly, because these ‘forever chemicals’ enter the food chain in increasing amounts. They are ‘permanent’ and if left unchecked they will increase, just like the other pests in the environment.

They themselves do not make the connection, but the recent increase in exposure to such chemicals that American researchers have identified in a ‘preliminary analysis’ seems to be partly a result of the corona pandemic. More than ever, consumers ingest harmful substances through the packaging of takeaway and delivery food and from the blue gloves of all those hygienically working (fast) food employees.

San antonio
It was a small study, with a simple design. “We took burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, chicken burritos, cheese pizza (n = 64 food samples) and gloves (n = 3) from restaurants and analyzed them for 11 chemicals using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, the researchers write. The research material came from fast food restaurants near the research lab in San Antonio, Texas. You could call it a neighborhood survey.

More than ever, consumers ingest harmful substances through the packaging of takeaway and delivery food and from the blue gloves of all those hygienically working (fast) food employees.

A search was made for the presence of plasticizers, the additions to plastic (PVC), which make it flexible and suitable as packaging material for food. Plasticizers have a much broader, mainly industrial, application. “Around eight million tons of plasticizers are consumed worldwide every year,” writes the producers’ association European Plasticers in a factsheet. About fifty different substances are used as plasticizers, ninety percent are phthalates in PVC. Another well-known/infamous is bisphenol A (BPA).

Toys
The use of the best-known plasticizers, the (ortho) phthalates, is limited by both European and American governments, including in toys. It has been shown that the substances that accumulate in human adipose tissue have a so-called endocrine disrupting effect. The list of endocrine disruptors is endless, the effects on health are by no means all known.

Many substances cause developmental disorders in children, even in the prenatal phase, or are suspected of doing so. This leads to a lower IQ and lower motor skills. ADHD and disrupted social behavior are also associated with exposure to phthalates. There is convincing evidence for the influence of phthalates on the development of the genitals.

The current restrictive measures are far too economical, experts say. The call for strict rules of use is growing, along with the growing body of evidence. In April this year, a number of researchers from major American universities published a fire letter. They make “recommendations for sensible policy changes”. Women who want to become or are pregnant, babies and toddlers and children in general, should not be exposed to plasticizers. They are not only found in packaging and toys, but also in building materials, carpeting, cosmetics and medicines.

Insecurity
In Europe, the EFSA regularly judges phthalates mildly and set the ‘tolerable daily intake’ in 2019 (TDI) of the five most commonly used phthalates. Below those limits, the plasticizers would pose no danger.

But: “We have set all these TDIs on a temporary basis due to the uncertainty about effects other than reproductive effects and the contribution of plastic FCM [‘food contact materials’] to overall consumer exposure to phthalates. Our experts determined that these uncertainties need to be addressed by considering all the evidence.”

The lab analysis in San Antonio yielded a state in which the presence of the substances is expressed in micrograms per kilo of hamburger, fries or burrito. In addition to the best-known plasticizers (with the abbreviations DEHP and DnBP), non-phthalates were also found, the substances DEHT, DINCH and DEHA. DEHT is considered less harmful and has the benefit of the doubt. However, research into the harmfulness in humans is lacking, the American researchers also say.

additional
In a video In presenting their findings, researcher Lariah Edwards of George Washington University in Boston points out an additional problem. It is a fact that poor Americans eat more fast food than wealthy Americans. Black neighborhoods have more fast food restaurants than white neighborhoods, she says. Poorer Americans of color often already have poorer health.

“More research needs to be done on these replacement plasticizers,” Edwards says. In addition, efforts should be made to completely ban plasticizers in the packaging of fast food.

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More plasticizers due to more food delivery – 8 million tons annually – harmful? – Food log

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