Now a day’s disposable paper/foam/plastic cups are quite demanding in office pantries due to the convenience it offers while ignoring its harmful side effects. But paper cups are lined with polyethylene for insulation and durability. Low quality paper cups are covered with a tiny layer of wax to prevent paper getting soaked and when we pour very hot beverage over this cup, the paper cups wax may come off, which will directly be sent along with the hot drink into our stomach. Over the time, stomach and digestive tract accumulate significant amounts of wax and chemicals when using the paper cups every day. This causes gastrointestinal disorders and other severe health problems.
Foam Tea Cup– Styrene is used to manufacture polystyrene foam plastic cups and foam food trays and packages. These include coffee cups, soup bowls, flight lunch packs, etc. If we are taking hot beverages through these polystyrene cups approximately four times a day for three years, we may have absorbed nearly one foam cup. Further, it increases the threat of toxicity when we microwaving the food along with these containers. It negatively affects the humans like tiredness, nervousness, insomnia, low platelet, lymphatic abnormalities and carcinogenic effects.
Plastic Cups– Plastic cups produce chemicals when comes in contact with hot beverages, it may cause several types of cancer that interferes with reproductive development in animals and may lead to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in humans.
Precautions While Using Disposable Cups-
- Say a big “NO” to paper, plastic and Styrofoam cups and start using your own cups made of stainless steel, ceramic mug or glass containers, as these materials are less reactive and does not produce harmful effects.
- If you have tea/coffee in plastic or thermocol cup, then it produces harmful effect on health as chemicals from these materials will invariably dissolve into the beverage. However, paper cup may be the safer option but not a cent percent safe because it is coated with wax to prevent leakage.
- According to the manufacturers, the wax in those cups melts only at very high temperature (beyond at what we drink). So it is better to drink tea/coffee in ceramic mug but if someone has to select out of these three then choose a paper cup due to its biodegradable characteristic, means that they break down over the time without harming the environment.
Spectro Analytical Lab provides all the facilities and instruments for testing all kinds of hazardous chemicals and other contaminants in different types of disposable plastic containers. It also provides training and assistance in this regard.
BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a chemical used in production of plastics, polycarbonate plastics and epioxy resins in plastic industries for many years. It is used in medical devices, compact discs, dental sealants, water bottles, the lining of canned foods and drinks, and many other products. It is also very common in baby bottles, sippers, baby formula cans, and other products for babies and young children. It is advisable due to its break resistant, heat resistant, and feather weight characteristics. Epoxy linings properties are tough, adhesive, formable and chemical resistant, preventing canned goods from leakage and spoilage. Babies and young children are more prone to the harmful effects of this chemical and also they have tended to metabolize it very slowly than adults. BPA has been linked to health problems in pregnant females (mainly in child bearing age), fetuses and young children; it can also be passed in the babies through breast milk. BPA is an endocrine disrupter, which means it mimics or interferes with the body’s hormones and “alters” the endocrine system. The chemical has several health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, cancers, infertility, obesity, sexual problems, and neurological disorders. For the elimination of BPA from the body and blood the key liver enzyme is required and it is lower in infants and children than adults that’s why babies and children are at greatest risk of exposure to this chemical because as they are taking fluid and food in bigger amount (as per body weight) than adults. It is observed that enzymatic activity constantly increases with the age until one year when it is fully mature. Exposure to this chemical is also increased due to hand to mouth activity. It can also admit into an unborn fetus by crossing the placenta of the pregnant mother.
How One Can Reduce the Exposure of BPA?
- Replace stainless steel (without lining) and glass from plastic containers.
- Use glass feeding bottle for babies.
- Use BPA free plastics only for refillable water bottles. Further, avoid plastic containers for storing and microwaving.
- Adapt powdered infant formula because liquid infant formula containers may contain BPA lining.
- Plastic containers labeled with these recycling numbers like #1, #2, #4, and #5 on the bottom are BPA- free plastic containers.
- Avoid storing food and beverages in plastics, but use glass containers as it is non reactive nature. Only adapt glass containers for heating food in the microwave, as heat tends to increase the release of chemicals from the plastic. Be aware that even BPA-free plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad as BPA.
- Not to drink water directly from the garden hose, as these are not made up of good plastics.
- Buy toys made from natural materials, so as to minimize the risk of plastic chemicals like phthalates and BPA/BPS.
- Always choose fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods instead of canned and processed food because these are the common sources of BPA whereas, fresh foods are nutritionally good. So, if required only choose BPA free canned products.
- Properly wash your hands while handling food articles.
- Be aware with cash register receipts and promote the authority to move to BPA free receipts.
Spectro Analytical Lab offers all the facilities and instruments for testing all the safety parameters related to plastics and metals. It also provides training and assistance in this regard.
Now a day, consumers are used to store their lunch/food articles in various plastic containers due to light weight and break resistant qualities. The stored food stuffs come in contact with the plastic that’s why they are more concerning about the leaching of harmful chemicals into the food. Now, there is a reason to worry about the migration of harmful substances into the food during microwaving. But it doesn’t mean that all plastics are not safe in microwave. There are certain types of plastics when heated in a microwave do not leak any harmful chemicals into the food.
There are various types of plastic containers to always avoid when heating food in a microwave like one time use containers, water bottles, restaurant takeout containers, plastic storage bags, plastic containers that hold curd, yogurt, cheese, cream, mayonnaise, etc. Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper bags, plastic grocery bags, newspapers as well as aluminum foil in the microwave oven. It is because, BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical used to make plastic hard and clear and if such type of plastic storage containers/utensils are used for heating food in the microwave, BPA can migrate into food from the storage containers. According to FDA 5 micrograms of BPA/kg body weight/day is the permissible limit for humans. Whereas, exposure to BPA may cause reproductive disorders and may also lead to breathing problems in children if exposed during pregnancy. It also causes prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
Using plastic containers for cooking as well as heating one should follow the directions like use microwavable plastic wraps, cooking bags, parchment paper and the containers that are labeled and specifically meant for cooking. These types of containers are considered to be the safest one. It is best to use containers made from heat resistant glass, ceramics stainless steel, while heating or cooking your food in a microwave.
Plastic containers are imprinted or labeled with the microwave symbol given below can tolerate microwave temperature and considered safe for the microwave.
Spectro Analytical Lab posses all the instruments for testing and analyzing the migrations of different chemicals and heavy metals in all the plastic containers to check their food grade and microwave resistant quality.