This morning, as I stood there making my daughter’s school lunch, I had to stop for a moment. Her lunch (a bagel with cream cheese) was slightly thicker than a sandwich. What, I wondered, could I wrap it in? It wouldn’t fit into my BPA-free sandwich container. None of my choices were what I would call palatable. Here’s why:
- Plastic wrap: It’s gotten safer over the past decade. Prior to 2006, plastic wrap contained phthalates. They don’t anymore, according to the American Chemical Council. And it doesn’t contain BPA — at least well-known plastic wrap doesn’t. But it is, as the Glad folks say, made from polyethylene, which is not recyclable.
- Wax paper: According to the UK Food Standards Agency, which is like our FDA, 42 out of 64 samples of wax paper tested contained mineral hydrocarbons that included white mineral oils, paraffin waxes, microcrystalline waxes and petroleum. The study found that even though those waxes did tend to leach into foods, they were within acceptable limits. Harumph. I don’t like that idea — acceptable limits.
- Aluminum foil: Take your pick. Aluminum has been linked to a host of diseases including Alzheimer’s. I didn’t realize how dangerous it can be — especially for children — until I started researching this blog post. According to our own U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, high levels of aluminum may be linked to brain and bone diseases. Newborn animals exposed to the metal “appeared weaker and less active…[and] some movements appeared less coordinated when their mothers were exposed to large amounts of aluminum during pregnancy and while nursing.” (Yes, according to the same source, aluminum can find its way into breast milk.)
So what did I do? I went with the unbleached wax paper bags that I bought at Whole Foods last week. It wasn’t a perfect choice, but definitely the lesser of all evils.