According to a recent report from consumer organizations in the European Union, bamboo and paper plates, which are meant to be an alternative to the single-use plastics that are disappearing from the EU market, may contain harmful toxins.
Harmful chemicals in disposable dishesSource: Dr
On July 3, the entire European Union will enter into force Ban on market placement Some single-use plastics. These are the 10 most commonly used products of this type, including plastic plates, cutlery, stirrers, and straws. These items are used one or more times and then discarded. The problem is that the materials they are made of are not recyclable and pollute the environment.
At least during the pandemic Plastic is temporarily back in favourAs many restaurants and shops begin to pack food into disposables, statistics show that consumers are increasingly abandoning it. Research last year on public opinion in the European Union shows that already 45 percent. Europeans avoid buying disposable plastic cutlery. Therefore, many manufacturers have turned to the production of packaging materials made of natural materials, including bamboo, paper, palm leaves, sugar cane and wood. However, a report from consumer organizations in the European Union reveals that some vital utensils are not as green as they seem.
Chemistry in every other painting
Research by consumer organizations in four European Union countries: Italy, Denmark, Spain and France shows that half of all eco-friendly disposable tableware contains harmful chemicals and some are not biodegradable at all. A total of 57 products were sent for testing, including 23 kinds of bowls and bowls made of natural fibers such as bamboo and sugarcane, 18 kinds of paper straws and 16 kinds of palm leaf bowls and bowls. Analysis showed that every second product (53%) contained one or more harmful chemicals above acceptable limits, and an additional 21%. On the verge of normal.
These are mainly materials such as perfluorinated compounds (PFAS), which are easily used in the production of food packaging because they are water- and grease-resistant and do not cause stains. However, PFAS is harmful to health, can disrupt the endocrine system, cause birth defects and even cancer. They are also called “eternal chemicals” because they permanently pollute the environment. The presence of these compounds was found in 41 products tested, 21 of which exceeded the standard, especially in the case of bamboo and reed dishes, and in some cardboard straws. In addition, some of the tested products contain carcinogenic chloropropanol, that is, chemical pollutants that arise, for example, during the production of paper packaging, and pesticides, used in the cultivation of sugar cane, for example, or in the processing of crude fibres.
Scientists have proven that toxic compounds contained in packages can pass into food and accumulate in the human body. True, – as noted by the authors of the report – none of the tested products poses a direct threat to the health of the consumer, especially since we are talking about single-use or short-term tools, but nevertheless his exposure to contact with harmful substances.
– Plastic cups and plates that are actually disposable Soon in historySo it is only natural that plant or leaf materials are gaining ground with consumers. It’s great that the European Union has finally decided to eliminate plastic, and now it must eliminate toxins from its alternatives, says Monique Goines, director general of the European Union’s consumer organization BEUC.
The organizations have also accused some producers of deliberately misleading consumers by advertising their products as “natural” and “environmentally friendly”. Meanwhile, research findings contradict this, because because 41 of the biomaterials tested contained “eternal chemicals,” they could not be promoted as biodegradable or compostable.
– Labels denoting products as “natural” or “eco-friendly” cannot be used in packages containing harmful chemicals. Such fake advertisements only cause confusion among consumers and make it difficult for them to choose genuine organic dishes, straws or bowls. The mere fact that so many alternative plastic packaging contain “eternal chemicals” unfortunately shows that one harmful substance has been replaced by another, Goins said.
EU organizations point out that just as the use of plastics has been regulated in the EU for a long time, such regulations do not exist with regard to “ecological” packaging, especially that in contact with food.
That’s why BEUC has called on the European Union to tighten rules on food-contact materials and introduce separate provisions for packaging made from natural materials such as bamboo, sugar cane and palm leaves. The organization also wants the EU to prevent producers from unjustifiably promoting products as organic, if they do not have the appropriate certification, and to “scan” the market from such advertisements and labels.
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