By Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times July 23, 2018
Eat more fruits and vegetables, don’t put plastic containers in the microwave or dishwasher and check recycling codes to reduce exposure to chemicals.
A major pediatricians’ group is urging families to limit the use of plastic food containers, cut down on processed meat during pregnancy and consume more whole fruits and vegetables rather than processed food. Such measures would lower children’s exposures to chemicals in food and food packaging that are tied to health problems such as obesity, the group says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued the guidelines in a statement and scientific technical report Monday. The group joins other medical and advocacy groups that have expressed concern about the growing body of scientific evidence indicating that certain chemicals that enter foods may interfere with the body’s natural hormones in ways that may affect long-term growth and development.
The pediatricians’ group, which represents some 67,000 children’s doctors in the country, is also calling for more rigorous testing and regulation of thousands of chemicals used as food additives or indirectly added to foods when they are used in manufacturing or leach from packaging and plastics.
The pediatrics group suggests that doctors recommend families take the following steps in order to reduce chemical exposures to children:
— Prioritize the consumption of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
— Avoid processed meats, especially during pregnancy.
— Avoid microwaving food or beverages — including infant formula and pumped breast milk — in plastic containers, and do not put plastic food containers in the dishwasher.
— Use alternatives to plastic, like glass or stainless steel, whenever possible.
— Check the recycling code on the bottom of products and avoid plastics with recycling codes 3, 6 and 7, which may contain phthalates, styrene and bisphenols, unless they are labeled “biobased” or “greenware,” indicating they are made from corn and do not contain bisphenols.
— Wash hands before handling food and drinks, and wash all fruits and vegetables that are not peeled.