Bisphenol A is and has been a controversial chemical, under the most extreme investigation from everyone: scientists, the government, the media, and, predictably, environmental groups.
This scrutiny comes about because one of the two primary uses for the chemical is the production of polycarbonate plastic. Such inspection is understandable when it becomes clear that plastic is used as a container to store food items.
Polycarbonate plastic performs quite well and is:
These qualities cause this product to be in high demand for various products. Unfortunately, many groups demand an alternative be found to BPA since they feel that its use for food storage is dangerous.
BPA is used in food packaging, prolonging the shelf life while protecting it from contamination and spoilage. Ziploc bags are a standard commodity in many kitchens. They are a handy tool to keep food fresh in the refrigerator. However, any plastic container is under fire regarding BPA content, so the question is: Are Ziploc containers BPA-free?
According to the manufacturer of Ziploc, SC Johnson, a Ziploc container is reusable and made with recyclable materials. Their composition is polypropylene a BPA free plastic. As a result, Ziploc can label its products as BPA-free. In addition, polypropylene has a high melting point, making it ideal for microwave use.
Ziploc containers are BPA Free
Any chemical found within a plastic product can migrate from the container or bag to the food within. However, several factors indicate that Ziploc bags are extremely unlikely to leach chemicals into the food stored in them. You should feel safe using those Ziploc sandwich bags and Ziploc freezer bags.
The Ziploc website also states that their bags are dioxin-free, a chemical that leaches from plastic. Therefore, there is no danger of chemicals leaching from Ziploc bags and contaminating the food. Additionally, there are no chemicals to leach into food when microwaving in a Ziploc bag or just storing the bag in the freezer or refrigerator.
Plastic food storage containers are widely used to preserve food for relatively short periods of time. Not all plastic containers are Phthalate free, fortunately, Ziploc containers and bags are free of phthalates. Because the company is safety conscious and is trying to protect the environment, the plastic used in their product does not contain the chemicals that produce phthalates.
Phthalates (also called phthalate esters) are a group of chemicals that make plastic sturdier. They are commonly contained within hundreds of everyday products containing plastic. Phthalates in food are becoming a potentially serious issue. Unfortunately, they’re also even finding their way into fast food - with an estimated 70% or more of fast food that was tested containing at least some level of phthalate plasticizer. The culprits in these situations are believed to be related to the food packaging material as well as the food preparation materials - including food handling gloves.
Each chemical in the group acts differently, and because most of the tests focus on animals, there is still a lot to learn about how phthalate exposure affects humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), airborne phthalates and especially phthalates in food may pose a potential health risk. This is based on the negative effects that have been observed when animals have been exposed to high phthalate levels.
Phthalate exposure for young children is especially concerning as Because children under the age of three put everything in their mouths, several of the chemicals in the family are no longer used in certain toys and products for that age group. They are BBP, DBP, and DEHP. Two of them, DBP and DEHP, are the cause of destroying the reproductive organs in male rats. Skin irritations caused by DBP in humans are suspected, but without more testing, that determination is inconclusive.
Endometriosis and cancer are two more suspected causes of some of the other chemicals in the family, but they are also inconclusive findings. More studies will have to be conducted to link phthalates to disease and death in humans directly. For now, it is sufficient to understand what the chemicals can do and try to avoid using them in products that have the potential to harm people.
Phthalates Overview from Russ Hauser of Harvard
PVC plastic, or Polyvinyl Chloride, is a thermoplastic product ranked the third most widely used plastic worldwide. PVC is used in the healthcare industry and has replaced copper pipes for plumbing needs in home construction. However, PVC contains up to 57% chlorine, and the manufacture, exposure to fire, or decomposition in a landfill makes it a potential danger.
Like phthalates, PVC and its link to serious health issues require statistical data, but the connection is there. Cancer, endocrine disruption, asthma, and declining lung power are some health concerns regarding PVC's toxicity.
Fortunately, Ziploc bags do not contain PVC, either. They're safe to use for food storage.
While you can microwave Ziploc bags, plastic with PVC is not microwave safe. Therefore, check to make sure the plastic bag is microwave safe to determine the presence of PVC.
PFAS is a large, expanding group of manufactured chemicals with molecules of linked carbon and fluorine atoms. The bond the two chemicals share is the strongest. Which means they do not degrade. Therefore, scientists have been unable to give PFAS an environmental half-life, which is the period that at least half the chemicals should take to disappear. Even nuclear waste has a shelf life.
Scientists have been studying two kinds of PFAS for years to help boost the understanding of this compound that has become permanently embedded into the environment. They are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), manufactured for years and found in multiple products.
Although they are not produced in the United States anymore, they have made their mark. They do not break down, they move through soil and contaminate drinking water sources, and because of this, they are found in fish and wildlife. Therefore, their contamination of humans is impossible to stop.
PFAS have thoroughly and wholly leached into the soil, air, and water. The issues that have arisen due to PFAS are:
Studies of PFAS are ongoing, but some of the health issues that they have been thought to cause are:
Fortunately, Ziploc bags do not contain PFAS. Unfortunately, people can be exposed to the chemicals through other means. Since PFAS was banned in the United States in the 2000s, their presence can still be found in landfills, poisoning the earth.
In addition, some products may still be in use - PFAS were used in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant clothing and carpet, and more effective firefighting foam. Except for the firefighting foam, some other products produced with PFAS may still be in people’s homes.
Plastic neither decomposes nor biodegrades; however, it does expire. The expiration of plastic takes place because of a process called photodegradation. Ultraviolet rays eventually cause the pliable plastic to harden and become brittle, breaking down the chemical composition of the bag. The bag never 100% goes away, but its purpose becomes nonexistent. Food cannot be protected in a hard, brittle bag. So, yes, Ziploc bags expire.
There are a large variety of Ziploc storage bag options. Ziploc bags are BPA Free. This means that your Ziploc freezer bag, sandwich bag, and snack bag are all free of BPA.
While you can count on your Ziploc storage bag to be BPA Free, this isn’t the case with many other plastic bags are BPA-free. One of the pros of BPA polycarbonate plastic is that it is clear. Plastics that are not clear are generally BPA-free. Except there are substitutes, such as polypropylene, with the same characteristic of being clear as BPA plastic.
Another factor to remember about BPA; if the plastic is soft and pliable, it should be BPA-free. BPA creates a rigid, inflexible product. However, it’s best to check the label and determine if it’s BPA-free.
Yes, your Ziploc can be considered a reusable bag. Just be sure to avoid cross contamination from the previous food item that was stored in the bag. You can do this by thoroughly and gently cleaning your Ziploc plastic bags with soap and water after use. You’ll then have a reusable freezer bag or reusable sandwich bag that can be mused multiple times. You’ll want to discard your bag when you notice that the bag is deteriorating or the seal no longer works