TRY THIS AT HOME
Don’t microwave in plastic. Heat increases the rate of chemicals leaching into food and drinks. Use temperature-resistant glass or ceramic containers when you microwave, or warm your food on the stove. The label “microwave safe” means safety for the container, not your health.
Store it safely. Food and drinks stored in plastic can collect chemicals from the containers, especially if the foods are fatty or acidic. Instead of plastic, store your leftovers in glass or stainless steel containers.
Plastics commonly found in food packaging can leach hormone-disrupting chemicals into food and drink.
In the Food Packaging Study, Silent Spring Institute researchers, joined by colleagues at the Breast Cancer Fund, sought to determine how food packaging affects phthalate levels in the urine of adults and children. They focused on DEHP, a phthalate used to soften plastic, including some plastic containers and food wrap. At common exposure levels, DEHP affects male reproductive development, sperm quality, and male hormones.
For comparison, the scientists also measured urine levels of some phthalates that do not come primarily from food packaging. Their results showed that food packaging is indeed the major source of exposure to DEHP in children and adults.
The scientists noted that DEHP is also found in range of other products, such as shower curtains, children’s toys, and medical devices. DEHP can migrate from these products into household air and dust, where they can be ingested or inhaled. Silent Spring Institute had previously measured DEHP levels in household air and dust in 170 homes, and the phthalate was detected in 100 percent of the homes tested.