Eating Plastic

I remember during the Vietnam War that autopsies performed on our thousands of young soldiers showed that there was Styrofoam in their bodies.  After eating and drinking out of Styrofoam containers, the polystyrene leached into their bodies and stayed there for life. I thought those days were gone because we banned Styrofoam, and later BPA (Bisphenol A) in water bottles. But a recent study now shows that children have harmful plastics (phthalates) in their bodies.

Our food production techniques have become “mass production” due to overpopulation and corporate greed. Meat for burgers is extruded through PVC tubing, bulk supplies of grain are stored in plastic containers, and virtually all food is wrapped in plastic.  The fast food industry is the culprit because food servers wear PVC gloves, food is wrapped or stored in plastic containers, and fast food is often reheated or assembled on plastic surfaces.

Studies show that people who eat fast food have more phthalates in their bodies than their counterparts who eat organic and fresh foods.  Children who eat school meals have 100% more phthalates in their bodies according to an Italian study.  In a food monitoring and duplicate diet study conducted in Japan, they found that people who ate fast food prepared by servers who wore PVC gloves during the preparation and packaging of the meals had a demonstrated increase in phthalates in their bodies. And because grains typically hold meals together like they do in burritos and sandwiches, they have more contact with plastic packaging materials. 

The industrialization of our food production, processing, and handling is causing us to develop health problems.  Sadly, it’s the poor and minorities who eat fast food and school lunches because it’s less expensive.  My recommendation is to grow your own veggies, stay away from fast food, and store/reheat your food in glass containers.  We need to consciously make decisions about our food intake in order to stay healthy.

Sources:

https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/15-10803/

(Tsumura et al. 2001a2001b).

(Tsumura et al. 2003).

(Schlosser 2012).

(Cirillo et al. 2011)

(Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel on Phthalates and Phthalate Alternatives 2014U.S. EPA 2012).