Pollution from Plastic, Paper, and Containers

Plastic containers are common in society. Plastics contain a variety of chemicals that are usually added to improve in some way the containers or to reduce the cost of the containers. Scientists have been concerned for a number of years whether plastic containers are safe for the storage and cooking of food. Of special concern is the use of containers in microwave-cooking. Some people believe that energy from the microwaves can cause chemical pollution of the food contained in the containers.

Recycled paper can also be a source of pollution. Paper is made via manufacturing processes that involve chemicals. Inks used to print text and pictures are made from chemicals. In some cases these chemicals may pass through the recycling process and end up in new products. Other chemicals may be added to paper and containers for particular reasons, and these chemicals may leach into food and other items touching the paper and containers.

This page gives links to recent scientific research into possible pollution from plastic, paper, and containers.
For years, scientists have been worried about bisphenol A. The chemical is known as an "endocrine disruptor," a substance that interferes with the body's hormone signaling system, and it's found in everything from plastic drink bottles to the linings of food and drink cans to the thermal paper used for cash register receipts -- not to mention the urine of 92.6 percent of Americans over the age of six. BPA has been associated with the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and ovarian dysfunction. In 2012, the FDA banned BPA from use in the production of baby bottles and drinking cups.
Girls between 9 and 12 years of age with higher-than-average levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) in their urine had double the risk of being obese than girls with lower levels of BPA, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published today in the journal PLOS ONE.
Are teeth the latest victims of bisphenol A? Yes, according to the conclusions of work carried out by the research team led by Ariane Berdal of the Universit√© Paris-Diderot and Sylvie Babajko, Research Director at Inserm Unit 872 "Centre des Cordeliers." The researchers have shown that the teeth of rats treated with low daily doses of BPA could be damaged by this. Analysis of the damage shows numerous characteristics that are common with a recently identified pathology of tooth enamel that affects roughly 18% of children between the ages of 6 and 8.
Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have discovered phthalates, industrial chemicals, in common foods purchased in the United States. Phthalates can be found in a variety of products and food packaging material, child-care articles and medical devices.

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