Impact of plastic food containers on human health: Need for an alternative approach for packaging

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Plastic is now become part of every field of human life. It penetrates the human body where it does not belong. Generally, people believe that packaging material are safe for them but all things that seems safe does not mean that it actually be. Many chemical families and groups such as phthalates, styrene, adipates and heavy metals are considered as very harmful substances for human health and environment. Vinyl chloride, a type of carcinogen, is part of the production of polyvinyl chloride. Irrespective of increasing consumers concerns, medical researches and scientific proof, all these harmful and dangerous substances are still used in food coating, bottles can and packaging which is intended to preserve food safe for humans. The reason for using plastic for packaging is that it is less expensive, resilient, lightweight and resistant to grease. Packaged food materials have a longer shelf life, and are easier and affordable to store. Hence, humans today are highly relayed on these plastics, for which humans’ entail high costs and results in health damages and the environmental degradation. Most of the type of plastic is harmful when it exposed to heat, burned, stretched, broken or come to the close contact of low temperature. However, plastics release dangerous organic chemical compounds, and with the passage of time, all plastics deteriorate and leads to harmful chemical emissions. With growing scientific proof and emergence of new techniques of safety from harmful substances present in plastic, consumers need to be cautious and should minimize their contact with plastics as much as necessary (Charles, 2012).

World plastics production amounted to around 359 million metric tons in 2018, with a yearly increase of around 5 percent, and this is the highest application area for crude oil. Hence, it emphasizes on the reason that why plastics industry depends on oil and how the increase in the price of natural gas and crude oil can have an economic impact on the plastics market. The use of alternative raw materials is becoming ever more valuable. Up to date, several different types of plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, polyamide and polyvinylchloride have highly recommended and used for packaging purpose either it be food packaging or liquid product packaging. The reason behind the use of these plastic types is due to their high accessibility at reasonable cost and good resilience power. But their use these day has to be limited because they are not completely and utterly reusable and environmentally friendly so they create serious environmental challenges. Also, plastic packaging materials are sometimes tainted with foodstuffs and biological stimulants, so reusing these items is infeasible and sometimes inconvenient economically. As a result, many thousand of tons of items made from plastic materials are improperly disposed and hence,  boosting the major issue of hazardous waste disposal each year (Kirwan, Plant & Strawbridge, 2011). Rapidly increasing environmental stewardship exerts both user-friendly and environmentally friendly characteristics on packaging films and on processing them. Biodegradability is therefore not only a reason for harm to human health but also a valuable attribute to the environment.

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