Not all plastics are the same
If we look at the topic holistically, it is essential to differentiate between the various types of plastics: After all, the different types have the most diverse implications for our organism. A closer look at the bottom of packaging or bottles is worthwhile – even better: “plastic chamfered” and thus prefer to reach for glass bottles and strictly avoid plastic products wherever possible. But for which effects should the respective types of plastics be responsible? And where are they in it?
Bisphenol A – Classification as “Substance of Very High Concern”
If you look at the effects of this chemical, you will inevitably become anxious and fearful. This substance is contained as a plasticizer in polycarbonate and can be found, for example, in food packaging or plastic dishes. Since the chemical is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth and can be dissolved by hot liquids, even the smallest amounts of this substance can cause great damage to health. As it is a hormonal chemical, it can cause hormonal diseases such as uterine cysts, hormonal disorders or lymphomas. But also cancer, Parkinson’s disease, liver problems, diabetes or ADHD seem to be related to bisphenol A.
Phtalates – plasticizers that make a difference
And with good reason! Phthalates (DEHP, DIBP, BBP, DBP and DIPP) can be found in the most diverse everyday products. Whether in films, PVC floor coverings, textiles or food packaging, etc., these plasticizers are used by the industry whenever plastics are to be made elastic and flexible. Since phthalates are not chemically bound to the plastic, they can unfortunately also escape easily. The chemicals quickly get into the air in the room or into the house dust and can thus be absorbed by people through the air they breathe. The absorption through food is also a potential source of danger. Thus also the Austrian Federal Environmental Agency expresses itself on its Website to the alarming health damage. These include impairment of male reproduction, damage to the liver, nerves and immune system, as well as overweight and diabetes.
PAHs – explosive plasticizers
In our daily lives, contact with PAHs, i.e. polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, is difficult to manage. Not only do hundreds of these substances exist, but they can also be found in a wide variety of products and are excreted, for example, by car exhaust fumes. It is particularly worrying that the EU’s Scientific Committee on Food has classified as carcinogenic as many as 15 of the approximately 250 known PAHs. Problematic: Other compounds are also considered very questionable. For this reason, maximum levels in food have been adopted for some selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Unfortunately, however, these limits are often not met. For example, when testing gourmet oils in 2015, Stiftung Warentest identified 23 of 25 tested products as containing PAHs and even declared two products as not marketable.