A recent article in Mother Jones has everyone asking if any plastic is safe, and if it isn't, how to avoid it. It’s easier than you think to find safer plastic alternatives — including some plastic. Glass, stainless steel, and lead-free ceramic are all tried and true nonplastic options. Reducing your exposure to chemicals in plastic-wrapped packaged foods is trickier. It can be really tough to find food that isn’t packaged in plastic.
Follow these easy steps to reduce your exposure to chemicals in plastic-packaged foods:
1. Opt for whole, fresh foods.
Not only will you reduce your exposure to contaminants from plastic packaging, you’ll also reduce your exposure to synthetic additives and preservatives found in processed foods (including artificial colors and artificial sweeteners).
2. Make friends with farmers.
Learn what’s in season and seek out a local source — either at a farmers market or via a farm share.
Ditch canned, frozen, and boxed entrees and make your own as much as you can.
4. Choose foods packaged in glass instead of plastic.
These may not always be easy to find, but it's a good way to differentiate between products when you have the option.
5. Buy in bulk whenever possible.
It’s the least-packaged option. You can bring your own cloth produce bags.
6. Choose safer plastics whenever plastic cannot be avoided.
The plastics currently considered safest are #2, #4, and #5. Look for these numbers in the chasing arrows triangle often on the bottom of a product. You can also look for products packaged in plant-based plastics like PLA.
7. Avoid the most toxic plastics.
These are #3, #6, and #7.
8. Don’t worry if you eat some stuff wrapped in plastic.
It’s everywhere and the best you can do is to reduce and minimize your exposure. Inevitably your food will touch some plastic en route from the earth to your plate.
Don’t forget to vote with your dollars and to speak up. Email manufacturers of food and drink packaged in plastics indicating your concern about how they negatively impact our health, our kid’s health, and our environment.