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PREPOSTEROUS CLAIM THAT PLASTIC
IS GOOD FOR THE DIET

"Plastics. An Important Part of Your Healthy Diet," boasts a flashy ad from the American Plastics Council, adding "You could think of them as the sixth basic food group."

While this at first seems merely outrageous, a Consumers Union (CU) study on the migration of chemicals in plastic wrap into cheese reveals how dangerously misleading this ad really is. CU scientists found that out of 19 cheddar cheese samples, the seven packed in clear polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic cling wrap, such as Reynolds or Saran wrap, contained the plasticizer DEHA at an average of 153 parts per million (PPM). This far exceeds the 18 ppm limit on food migration set by the Commission of the European Communities for DEHA, which causes birth defects, reproductive effects, and liver cancer in lab animals.

Most of the DEHA that was an ingredient in the wrap ended up in the cheese, CU estimated. In fact, plasticizer molecules can migrate from packaging into food until they are depleted. Migration begins immediately: A Danish study found that 44 to 58 ppm of DEHA leached into cheese within two hours of being packaged in PVC.

It's not just cling wrap we need to worry about. In some cases, packaging made from PVC contains over 50% plasticizers, added to increase flexibility of this inherently brittle plastic. PVC packaging for food can include plastic trays in boxed cookies or chocolates, candy bar wrappers, and bottles often identified by the "#3" recycling label on the bottom.

The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) found that 5% of PVC bottles in a Massachusetts grocer stored food. These include Planters Peanut Oil and Appalachian Mountain spring water, among others. "Our unique container keeps the spring water tasting like spring water, and not like plastic," the Appalachian Mountain label proudly proclaims!

Other foods packaged in PVC include meat and poultry in cling wrap; Natural Milled Cane Sugar (Florida Crystal Refinery); Cafe Tiera (Coffee Bean International); Peter Pan Smart Choice peanut butter (Hunt Wesson); Borden and Parade creamers; and Salma and Gourmet Style spices.

What can you do? If you must use cling wrap, buy polyethylene-based Handi-Wrap and Glad wrap, which contain no PVC and thus no DEHA.

Written by:Mothers & Others



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