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Is Food Packaging Affecting Your Health?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page, Food Safety Resource page, and our Appetite for a Change page.

Most of us are genuinely trying to do our best to be healthy -- we buy organic food, try to drink filtered water, include more fruits and vegetables with every meal, the list goes on and on. But what about the plastic our organic vegetables are wrapped in? What about the plastic bottles holding our filtered water? And the microwaveable plastic bag we sometimes use to cook our extra veggies in because it's so easy? While the science is still relatively preliminary at this point, there is a possibility that the packaging surrounding our food may be just as influential on our health as what is inside.

Chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and PCV (polyvinyl chloride) have all been found in plastic food packaging, the linings of soda cans and canned food. These chemicals, often referred to as endocrine disruptors, do much more than simply help to protect and contain our food. They can mimic our natural hormones, turning on or off the body's native hormone signals to block natural responses or trigger excessive action.

BPA, in particular, could possibly disrupt the way our hormones communicate, and may, in certain amounts, lead to fertility issues, cancer, impaired brain function, Type-2 diabetes and obesity. But the problem is bigger than BPA alone. A recent study found that even the BPA-free plastic can potentially release "estrogenic chemicals" into food and beverages as well.