We all know about plastic, right? It’s not a good idea for a variety of reasons. But have you ever considered this? Just like teflon when heated or scratched? Particles creep into your food.
Do you use plastic to store leftovers?
And they’ve told you that it’s ‘safe’ to wash them in the dishwasher on the top rack?
Bad idea. Every time you heat plastic? It releases fumes…. toxic fumes. And what happens when you put hot soup, hot spaghetti, hot anything into those plastic tubs?
When you go to eat it later? Consider that you are eating particles and fumes of plastic as well.
Here’s the latest I found out about…. ya know when catering companies serve you at events?
Behind the scenes? They throw rice and water into a big pan, cover it with plastic then tin foil, and stick it into the oven to cook. You don’t think that plastic and its’ fumes don’t seep into the rice? Urghhh! It makes me crazy! What’s worse? Chefs accept that. When I question? The response is: Oh, that’s just how it’s done.
Bad. Really bad. And sad, cause we don’t know what we’re getting when the food is at someone else’s hands. There’s your proof!
Let’s move onto Melamine Dishes. Those are created with chemicals combined by being heating. Good idea? Well Yeeaah. If you don’t mind extra particles leaching into your food. Fill a plastic or melanine cup with OJ? The acid will also pull particles out. Nuke it? Particles again, as an added bonus! And you know how thrilled I am at the concept of microwaving anything anyway…..
But there is some good news on the forefront. I walked the Natural Food Show this past weekend, and there ARE companies coming out with BPA free plastics. So we are right around the corner from a better product.
WHAT IS BPA, CHEF?
Well Eureka Recycling explains it this way:
“BPA is a common synthetic chemical found in plastics–food and beverage can linings and other consumer products—that interferes with human hormones. We know that phthalates, a class of chemicals used to soften plastics and to carry fragrance in many everyday products, have been linked to birth defects and are harmful to the reproductive system.
Some chemicals, like BPA and phthalates, can leach into food and drinks to possibly affect human health. Polycarbonate, PVC, and styrene have also been shown to leach toxic chemicals. Leaching increases when plastic comes in contact with oily or fatty foods, when the plastics are heated, and when plastics get old or scratched”.
They go on to give you a link to a health and safety publication that says exposure to heated plastic: “is linked to adverse effects on the liver, kidney, spleen, bone formation and body weight. It is also a possible human carcinogen, affecting the liver”.
You can google the effects of plastic in our food to find out all the studies that have been done.
Some articles, like from the Smithsonian (as in Smithsonian Institute) for example, take it one step further: telling us “how plastic pollution can carry flame retardants into your sushi”! They say “research shows that plastic particles can absorb pollution from water, get eaten by fish and carry toxins up the food chain”.
But let’s go back to your everyday exposure to BPA….. Did you know that canned goods are lined in plastic with BPA? Another thing that doesn’t surprise me. We all know it’s better to eat fresh than canned or frozen. But did you know you get a dose of plastic with every canned good you warm?
Well, there’s good news again. I spoke to a Can Manufacturer this past weekend, and was told that those plastic liners (I guess now that the public knows about it) are being changed to BPA Free liners.
So at some point…. each of us has to draw the line in the sand. I am a firm believer that moderation is key here. I don’t eat sushi daily. I’m happy if I get it once a month. I have limited many of my animal protein choices. I even do meatless Mondays. And when I have a hamburger? When I buy chopped meat to make a meat sauce or hamburgers at home? I buy grass fed.
I use a lot of pyrex or glass bowls with covers. I’ve traded out some of my Tupperware for recycling tomato sauce glass jars. And I am doing whatever I can do to protect myself and the people I love, to the best of my ability.
The thing I come away with from all the research about plasticware is this one thought:
Thank you. Thank you for letting me know the can liners suck. Thanks for letting me know the plasticware NEVER goes in the dishwasher. And thanks for letting me know if I use plasticware…. I can do better.
If you get nothing else from this article, please do get that!
THANK YOU CHEF MARIAN!
You’re very welcome.