Aug 23, 2013

    Get rid of plastic containers after 1 use

    DISPOSABLE plastic food containers and water bottles should be disposed of after one use, an expert in Malaysia has cautioned.

    Universiti Malaya toxicology professor Mustafa Ali Mohd, who has advised the World Health Organization on food safety and toxicology, said people should not reuse such disposable items as there are health hazards.

    "If the plastic containers are reused many times, harmful chemicals could leach into the food," he said, adding that plastic bags should not be used to pack hot soup or drinks.

    He said harder plastic containers usually contain bisphenol A (BPA) while softer containers contain phthalates, both of which could disrupt the endocrine system.

    BPA could delay puberty development while phthalates could cause obesity, he said.

    In a study that divided subjects based on their urinary concentrations of BPA, researchers found that the odds of being obese increased with higher levels of the chemical.

    Dr Mustafa said that plastic feeding bottles should be changed once every three months, or earlier if they become scratched or cloudy in colour.

    In a study carried out on 200 babies in the Klang Valley, he found that 88 per cent of them had BPA in their blood. These included newborn babies, suggesting that it had been transferred from their mothers who were exposed to it.