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Until 2002, plastics used to package foods were called “indirect food additives” by the FDA because it is generally understood that plastics leach chemicals into food, water, and the human body. But in that year the FDA changed the terminology to “food contact substances” so the public would not be unduly alarmed by the migration of plastics into food and water, especially bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastic water bottles. BPA is a well-known endocrine disrupter affecting development, memory, intelligence, and learning.

But duly alarmed is probably what we should be, if we listen to Victor O. Sheftel, chief environmental toxicologist at the Ministry of Health in Israel. He points out that the plastic called polymeric materials (PM) is used to package nearly 80 percent of our food. “The absence of acute poisonings with fatal outcome does not prove the safety of synthetic packaging materials…. It is well known that chronic effects may be observed as the result of repeated ingestion of a number of small doses, each in itself insufficient to cause an immediate acute reaction but in the long term having a cumulative toxic effect. Thus, PM and other widely used chemicals have introduced a problem of protracted action of low concentrations of chemicals upon human health.”

The Hundred-Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald, pg. 114.

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