We live in a very malleable world. Almost everything we eat, drink or own contains or is contained in plastic. Certain plastics, such as those containing BPA or other harmful chemicals, may have a negative impact on our body or the world we live in. PE film, a complex plastic, is generally considered safe for humans. But, what do we know about this useful and ubiquitous PE film?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that PE film derived from petroleum is a safer choice than certain other types of plastics. PE film does not cause human cancer, and its flammability in the fabric is not as good as wool. However, it must be pointed out that some newer studies have indeed pointed out the toxicity of certain PE film containers.
Researchers studied multiple plastics in multiple products in a 2019 study. They found that due to the manufacturing process of each product, the toxicity of the specific plastic of each product varies greatly. In this study, researchers found that certain polypropylene products can affect androgens and cause cytotoxicity or stress. More research is needed, especially due to the complex chemical composition of plastics, and each product may have different effects.
PE film is a plastic. Among the commercial plastics on the market today, PE film is considered one of the safest plastics. PE film has received FDA food contact certification, so you will find polypropylene in food containers, such as containers containing yogurt, cream cheese and butter products. Because PE film has high heat resistance, it is also often used in food packaging that can be heated in a microwave oven. Some surgical devices and implants are also made of PE film, and PE film fibers are commonly used to weave carpets for indoor and outdoor use.
Since PE film is everywhere, completely eliminating it is a difficult task. Here are some tips to reduce the use of plastic and use PE film more safely:
l Doctors do not recommend heating food in PE film containers, because the heat will increase the chance of chemicals leaking out of the container and into the food. Choose to heat food in glass or metal containers.
l If you can, please choose products marked "BPA free". Try to avoid using PE film with recycling code 3 or 7 unless there is a leaf next to the number (indicating that the plastic does not contain BPA). The risk of these plastics containing BPA and other potentially harmful chemicals is usually higher.
l Discard all PE film containers since 2012. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Trusted Sources prohibits the use of BPA in straw cups, baby bottles, and infant formula containers.
l Avoid using PE film or coated baking and cooking bags. Heat may cause the chemicals in these products to be released into your food.
l Do not refill plastic water bottles marked with resin recycling code 1. They should be used as disposable containers.
l Avoid handling cash register receipts coated with glossy film. According to the advocacy organization Breastcancer.org, the glossy coating contains BPA.
l You may want to consider replacing your plastic tableware and storage containers with glass or metal substitutes over time. Although polypropylene is still a safe alternative to certain other types of plastics, the manufacturing process of PE film may be harmful to the environment.