Two German TV channels recently broadcasted reports biased against plastic materials. Both reports conclude that harmful substances should be banned from plastic packaging materials and that consumption of plastic materials, particularly in food packaging, should be reduced.
On February 18, 2013 a program broadcasted by the West German Broadcasting channel WDR looked into the use of plastic materials in German households, including in food contact materials. The presenter of “Der grosse Haushaltscheck” Yvonne Willicks talked to politicians, tested how much plastic is present in German households and looked at environmental effects of plastic as well as possible alternatives. She concluded that while it is not possible to remove plastic completely from modern life, plastic consumption should be drastically reduced.
The program was followed by another broadcast in the Second German Television (ZDF) channel titled “Plastik – unsichtbare Gefahr” (plastic -the invisible danger), which was aired yesterday, February 27, 2013. The program interviewed experts including Michael Braungart, director of the Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency (EPEA) Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH and co-author of the book “Cradle-to-cradle”, Marike Kolossa from the German Ministry of the Environment and Fred vom Saal, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri, US as well as the Danish Minister of the Environment Ida Auken.
A selection of foods packaged in plastic bought from a supermarket was analyzed. Over half of the foods analyzed contained measurable levels of phthalates or bisphenol A, though none above the levels authorized by the European Commission. In two articles the phthalates did not come from the packaging but were present in the food from other unknown sources. Finally, the presenters carried out an intervention during which they either exclusively ate non-plastic packaged foods or only food packaged in plastic. Through the consumption of food not packaged in plastic phthalate and BPA exposure could be lowered by 30%, but chemical levels were not raised through the consumption of packaged foods. It was hypothesized that this could be explained by the individual’s above average/unusual fast metabolism.
WDR – Der grosse Haushaltscheck
ZDF- Plastik the unsichtbare Gefahr