We live in a very plastic world. Nearly everything we eat, drink, or own contains plastic or is contained in plastic. Some plastics, like those that contain BPA or other harmful chemicals, can negatively affect our bodies or the world we live in.
Polypropylene, a complex plastic, is generally considered safe for humans. But what do we know about this useful and ubiquitous product?
Polypropylene is a plastic. Of the commercial plastics on the market today, polypropylene is considered one of the safest.
It’s FDA-approved for food contact, so you’ll find polypropylene in food containers like those that hold yogurt, cream cheese, and butter products. Because it has a high heat tolerance, it’s also often used in packaging of food that can be heated in a microwave.
Some surgical devices and implants are also made of polypropylene, and polypropylene fibers are commonly used to weave area rugs for indoor and outdoor use.
Polypropylene, which is derived from petroleum, is considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be a safer choice than some other types of plastics. It’s not known to cause cancer in humans, and it’s less flammable in fabrics than wool.
It’s important to note, however, that some newer research does point to toxicity in certain polypropylene containers.
The researchers in a 2019 study looked at many kinds of plastic in a wide range of products. They found that the toxicity of a particular plastic varied dramatically from product to product because of each product’s manufacturing process.
In this study, researchers found that some polypropylene products affected androgen hormones and caused a toxic or stress response in cells.
More research is needed, especially since plastics are chemically complex, and each product could have different effects.
This research hasn’t changed the FDA’s or the EPA’s recommendations for the use of polypropylene
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