Japan Offspring Fund(JOF) is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. We have researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.

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Newsletter
-SAFETY OF OUR FOODS AND LIFE-
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Japan Offspring Fund (JOF) Monthly Newsletter
1999, February, No.118


The Year 1999 is The 15th Anniversary of Japan Offspring Fund

Contents.

Topics Articles
IACFO IACFO becomes an official observer of CODEX
Endocrine disruptor Nonylphenol is detected from PVC Food Wrap
JOF Steering committee had a 15th anniversary meeting   
Low Dose Effects of Endocrine Disruptors "Inverted U,"Kyoto EDC Simposium
Poster Protect your Teeth
What Doctors Don't Tell You Blood Pressure
Organic Agriculture Endocrine Dirsuptors and Organic Agriculture
Food and food package Pesticide IPC is detected from potato chips
Dr. Tsuchida Theory Nuclear Power Plant are more scarier than Global Warming
Fry pans made of nuclear wastes?!
Nutrition Is Vitamin C effective for fighting cold and cancer?
Cosmetics Chemicals used to extract herbal essense
Dental Health Watch for bleeding gum
Q&A Moth repellent/stevia/ PVC-erasers
PVC Children Toys Tommy Ltd. will produce non-pvc children toys


The English version of JOF's newsletter "Safety of Our Foods and Life" contains only select and feature article from the original Japanese version

Topics Endocrine disruptor [contents]
Articles IACFO becomes an Official Observer of CODEX

 

In 1997, the Japan Offspring Fund, the Center for Science in the Public Interest US, and the Food Commission UK formed the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations (IACFO) to deal with food issues globally. Last December, JOF received notification from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that IACFO had received official permission to participate as an observer at Codex.

The joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) promotes coordination of international food standards. Until now, Japanese Goverment officials have shown respect for Codex but not for the concerns of consumers when they decide food standards. Thus, it is valuable for IACFO, an international consumer organization, to

participate in Codex so that consumers' opinions can be reflected in international food policy.

Although observers cannot vote, they have the right to present opinions, just as government representatives do. The decisions of Codex often reflect opinions aired at commission discussions, thus if observers participate actively in discussions, they may share power with governments.

NGOs which have participated in Codex as observers include Consumer International (CI) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). Japanese organizations that are members of these NGOs can participate through such observer status; however, Japanese have not, as yet, participated actively. Thus, JOF's participation in Codex is a valuable development for Japanese consumers.

IACFO's Codex related information(CSPI)

Codex Alimentarius Commission Official Homepage



Topics Endocrine disruptor [contents]
Articles Nonylphenol is detected from PVC Food Wrap

(Combined articles that appeared in issues no.117 (January 1998), and no.118 (February 1998); the original Japanese article written by Noriko Saito, and English revised version by Natsuko Kumasawa)


<Let's conduct an experiment using your plastic food wrap.>

* If you are sensitive to chemicals, don't do this experiment.

* Be sure to wash your hand after doing this experiment.

For this experiment you need:

- a bucket half full of water

- plastic food wrap

1. Cut a piece of food wrap about 1 meter long.

2. Soak the wrap in the bucket of water.

3.Strongly crumple the wrap in the water for several minutes.

What happened?

Did you feel something slippery on your hand?

Did the wrap become foamy like soap bubbles?

If you didn't feel anything, you probably used a wrap without additives. However, most food wraps contain many chemical additives, and these chemicals leach out when the wrap is soaked and crumpled in water.

Yes, this experiment can be a bit dangerous. But as you can imagine, we consume these chemicals. The chemicals leach out when the wrap is soaked in water in this experiment. Chemicals leach out more from food wraps at high temperatures and when in contact with fats. Do you cover warm dishes containing fat --like soups or stir-fry ? with plastic wrap? Do you mirowave foods wrapped in plastics? If so, chemicals are leaching out of the food wrap and are being absorbed in your food. You are eating food contaminated with these chemicals.


<Bubbles from Plastic food wraps>

In January, we did an experimentwith food warp. We soaked and crumpled 15 meter-long pieces of food wrap in 400cc of water. See the picture below.


Picture 1. Bubbles from plastic food wraps
The wrap brands are from left: Denka Wrap, Daia Wrap G, Polima Wrap

Can you see the bubbles in the glasses? These are not bubbles from beer or detergent. All of these bubbles came from the pieces of PVC plastic food wrap. We were shocked to find these bubbles. After we did this experiment, our hands became itchy and rough. Some people suffered rough skin for several days. What are the chemicals that made our hands rough? Are they dangerous?


<Nonylphenol is dectected in food wrap>

We decided to ask the Japan Food Research Laboratories (JFRL) to analyze plastic food wraps. Since we had heard that nonylphenol is often used as an ingredient in food wrap, we asked JFRL to check for nonylphenols in experiments at their test center. Nonlyphenol is a common ingredient in synthetic detergent and is known as an endocrine disruptor. Nonylphenol is one of the chemicals found to be causing the feminization of fish in the Thames River in England.

We bought 26 plastic food wraps with different ingredients to be analyzed. The table on the next page outlines the results.

Table. The Detection of Nonylphenol in Plastic Food Wrap

Name

Use for

Company

Ingredients

Detected Nonylphenol

Daia wrap G

commercial

Mitsubishi Jushi

PVC

0.19

Polima wrap

commercial

Shinetsu Polymer

PVC

0.38

Denka wrap shinsen

commercial

Denka Polymer

PVC

0.32

Riken wrap

commercial

Riken Vinyl Kougyo

PVC

0.31

Daia wrap Super

commercial

Mitsubishi Jushi

poly olefin

nd

Saran wrap

commercial

Asahi Kasei Kougyo

PVDC

nd

New kure wrap

commercial

Kureha Kagaku Kougyo

PVDC

nd

Eco wrap

houshold

Sunshine Polymer

Polyethylene

nd

Saran wrap *1

household

Asahi Kasei Kougyo

PVDC

nd

New kure wrap *1

household

Kureha Kagaku Kougyo

PVDC

nd

Daia Wrap

household

Mitsubishi Jushi

PVC

nd

High wrap S

household

Mitsui touatsu Platech

PVC

0.52

Riken wrap

household

Riken Vinyl Kougyo

PVC

0.3

Polima wrap

household

Shinetsu Polymer

PVC

0.34

Kozara wrap

household

Hitachi Kasei Filtech

PVC

0.25

Superwrap anti-germ

household

Okamoto

PVC

0.63

Anti-germ food guard mini

household

Hitachi Borden

PVC

0.24

Anti-germ food guard *2

household

Hitachi Borden

PVC

0.54

Hitachi wrap anti-germ

household

Hitachi Kasei Filtech

PVC

0.31

New anti-germ wrap *3

household

Izumiya

PVC

0.54

Renji(Micro wave) wrap

household

Mitsubish Alminium

Polypropylene, Nylon

nd

Kankyo Omoi

household

Okamoto

poly olefin

nd

New View wrap

household

Hitachi Kasei Filtech

poly olefin

nd

Onigiri you wrap

household

Hitachi Kasei Filtech

poly olefin

nd

High wrap PO

household

Mitsui touatsu Puratech

Polyethylene

nd

Rose wrap

household

Itochu Sunplus

Polyethylene

nd

Unit: g/ml (ppm); identification limit: 0.05 ppm; nd: not detected
Experiment conditions: solvent medium (25 n-heptane), soak wrap in 25 n-heptane for 60 minutes.
Test center: Japan Food Research Laboratories

  *1 This analysis is done in March 1998.
*2 This result is cited from "Safety of our foods and Life" Japanese version, no 114, October 1998
*3 New anti-germ wrap is produced by Hitachi Borden and sold by Izumiya. This result is cited from "Safety of our foods and Life" Japanese version, no 111, July 1998

PVC : Poly vinyl chloride
PVDC : Poly Vinlylidene Chloride


Nonylphenol, one of the endocrine disruptor was detected in 13 plastic food wraps available for commercial and household use. The amount of nonylphenol is ranged from 0.19 to 0.63g/ml (ppm). All wraps that nonylphenol is detected is made from PVC.

It is wise to avoid using PVC food wrap, however, PVC wraps are widely used commercially. At grocery stores and supermarkets, foods such as meats, fish, and vegetables are often packed in polystyrene foam containers and covered with plastic. These plastic wraps are often made of PVC. If you can buy foods directly from producers, bring your own container to avoid food contamination. Since meat and fish

contain fat, nonlyphenol from plastic wrap can easily migrate into foods.

When you buy plastic food wrap for household use, read the product label carefully and choose one made of polyethylene without additives. To avoid exposure to nonylphenol, do not buy PVC wrap, and remember that PVC wrap can also be a precursor to dioxins.

We are still not sure whether nonylphenol is one of the causes of the bubbles. Although Daiawrap Super made a lot of bubbles, as shown in the picture, nonylphenol was not detected during analysis. We will continue our investigations to determine the source of the bubbles.


<Related articles>

http://www.naturalhealthvillage.com/newsletter/HL990201/plasticwrap.htm http://www.slac.com/u/tree/research/txt/foam2.txt

Japan Offspring Fund
is a consumer group researching safety of our foods and life.
Japan Office:
2F, 2-5-2 Koji-machi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan, 102-0083
Tel:81-3-5276-0256 Fax:81-3-5276-0259,
E-mail: rxm02651@niftyserve.or.jp


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