Almost all of us buy prepackaged food or other goods on a regular basis, but few people understand how the way our favorite products are packaged can affect different parts of the body. The ubiquity of the types of packaging that can be dangerous makes it hard to avoid, but there are a number of reasons you should make a conscious effort to avoid certain chemicals and materials when you shop. If you want to learn more, keep reading to find out how food and product packaging can harm your health.
How can food and product packaging affect your health?
The chemicals in food packaging are associated with several other chronic diseases, including diabetes, obesity, cancer, and other neurological disorders like ADHD. There are still many clinical trials being performed to determine what other impacts packaging could be having on our health, but what’s clear so far is that we’re all ingesting many chemicals and we don’t know yet how severe the impact of that will be on various parts of the brain.
If you’re at risk for dementia, or already in one of the Alzheimer’s disease stages, you should take extra care with what you eat and how it’s packaged. The chemicals found in plastic and aluminum packaging can also affect those already dealing with a cognitive disorder. These chemicals can impair learning and even exacerbate the symptoms of conditions like dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. Some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include cognitive decline, memory loss, and changes in behavior or mood.
Believe it or not, even the to-go boxes and paper containers from ordering takeout can be dangerous. Hot products have the tendency to absorb chemicals from the containers they are placed in. Given that 26 percent of adults in the United States order takeout at least once per week, there are millions of people being exposed to these chemicals on a regular basis. Styrofoam is another major concern, and many states and companies have already stopped using it.
Are there eco-friendly packaging alternatives?
Fortunately, there are eco-friendly packaging alternatives that you should keep an eye out for. Companies like Earthwise Packaging care about the environment and have made it a part of their mission to provide product packaging that produces less waste and is less harmful for consumers. Their products are plant-based and carbon-neutral, unlike most alternatives on the market. You can learn more at earthwisepackaging.com.
You might be wondering why more companies don’t take advantage of the technology used by Earthwise. Due to the vast majority of our resources being dedicated to producing fossil-fuel plastics, there are few companies that can maintain a consistent supply of plant-based plastic products. It’s essential for all of us to continue pushing those in power to allocate funding to the production of safer and more sustainable packaging.
Some large companies are starting to change their tune on packaging. Even Trader Joe’s publicly announced their commitment to switching to more sustainable packaging. Their goals include eliminating excess waste, using materials that can realistically be recycled, and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals. Until this commitment is put into action and other major retailers follow suit, customers should remain vigilant and be cautious of which products they buy.
Though eco-friendly packaging alternatives do exist, manufacturing large amounts of them is difficult due to the fact that the United States currently allocates most of its resources to producing fossil fuel plastics. Until plant-based and other forms of eco-friendly packaging are widely adopted, you need to be cautious about what you buy. The fact that certain types of plastics have been linked to conditions like heart disease, changes in cognitive function, and even cancer should be a wake-up call for everyone to be more conscious of how their favorite foods and products are packaged.