Up until 2006, most plastic cling wrap was plasticized (made flexible) with a chemical known as PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). However, due to this substance being connected to several health issues including breast cancer in women and low sperm count in men it was banned in the US. Since 2006, All US manufactured plastic cling wrap is either made with PVDC (Polyvinylidene Chloride) or LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene). Deemed safe by the USDA in 2006, subsequent studies since then are starting to question these findings.
One of the most troubling endocrine disruptors is a common ingredient in plastic called bisphenol A (commonly called BPA). BPA is another potential Endocrine system disruptor that can mimic hormones found naturally in the body, thus disrupting your body’s hormonal balance. The problem is that BPA migrates from the plastic into food, water, and saliva. Heat, contact with acidic and alkaline substances speed up the process.
Another alarming fact is that US manufacturers are not required to label the chemical ingredients used in plastic manufacturing. Further, be aware that PVC is still used in plastic wraps manufactured in other countries. So be weary of that cheap 99 cent plastic wrap! Also, all plastic wrap manufacturers agree that plastic wrap should not be used with heat and/or the microwave at any time!
With so many uncertainties about the safety of plastic wrap I suggest looking for other alternatives in your kitchen. Let’s look at a few:
- Bee’s Wrap: Made from organic cotton muslin, Bee’s wax, Jojoba oil and tree resin, this reusable food seal not only keeps your food sealed, but also fights off bacteria as both bee’s wax and Jojoba oil contain antibacterial properties. Just be sure not to expose it to heat. Bee’s wax is easy to use ,with the warmth of your hands melting the bee’s wax enough to create a seal. Cleaning is simple with water and a mild soap. Air dry by hanging (like you would a towel) and you can use it over and over again!
- Purchase Meat from a Butcher: Don’t by that meat that has been sitting in plastic wrap for days or even weeks. Instead buy directly from the butcher and always ask for paper wrapping (which is standard in butcher shops).
- Use Plastic wrap loosely: If you must use conventional plastic wrap, drape it loosely over food/dishes. Also, try to avoid fatty foods with plastic wrap (such as cheese) which tends to absorb the chemicals in the plastic more so than other foods.
- Never Microwave Plastic: Never put food in a microwave using plastic wrap or dishes. Always transfer food to a glass or ceramic dish before heating (this includes Tupperware as well).