Bisphenol A is a chemical compound that is given of certain plastics, particularly if those items are used in the preparation and storage of food. Plastic that is “cloudy” or scratched is more prone to giving off BPA. Heat and mildly corrosive food substances, such as citrus juice, can accelerate BPA contamination. BPA is responsible for impaired brain function, which leads to learning disabilities and age-related neurodegenerative disease. BPA is known to disrupt the body's gland functions and to simulate the action of oestrogen. Tests done on rats indicate all sorts of negative effects from BPA, including synaptic disruption in the brain that is controlled by oestrogen and can affect the reproductive organs, as well as increased likelihood of cancer developing in later life.
Polyvinyl-chloride is a commonly used plastic found in food wrapping, containers, toys, building materials, gutters and water pipes. In order to strengthen the PVC and prevent degradation, heavy metal is added to the PVC during the manufacturing process. This results in possible lead contamination, from either the plastic surface, or from water or food that has been in contact with it.
Lead is released from the PVC compound when the plastic is exposed to high temperatures or lots of light. Because PVC releases hydrochloric acid when it degrades, the chain reaction that results in complete breakdown is halted by the addition of stabilisers. The stabilisers for PVC are metal salts, most often lead.
Using certain plastics may result in exposure to pthalates. Diethylhexyl pthalate (DEHP) can end up being deposited on your food due to its presence is cling wrap. DEHP is linked to kidney failure and is a known human carcinogen. DEHP is present in dust from PVC products and children are more likely to be exposed to this dust, and are more vulnerable to it. Children, particularly babies spend a lot of time in close proximity to the floor, where most of the dust settles. Due to body weight and the fact that children breathe relatively more air than adults, DEHP concentration is higher in young children.