Friday, September 22, 2023
25 C
Brunei Town
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Is it safe?

THE STAR – Bamboo cups, feted as the environmentally friendly alternative to plastic, are not always a good thing, even though it’s generally recommendable to try to avoid single-use products.

Many bamboo products contain melamine-formaldehyde resins (MFH), plastics that are not biodegradable and can be hazardous to your health.

When bamboo containers are made out of finely-ground fibres, the plastics are used as binders so they hold their shape.

On its own, the MFH is not a problem, if you are using the containers for cooler items. But if you expose your container to temperatures above 70 degrees Celsius, there is a risk that hazardous substances can pass into your food, like freshly brewed coffee, say, or soup.

If you are heating the contents in a microwave, here, too, the substances may be transferred to your food, according to a study conducted by Germany’s Institute for Risk Assessment.

Formaldehyde can irritate your eyes, skin and respiratory tract and may be carcinogenic. Melamine is suspected of being responsible for bladder and kidneys diseases.

So use alternative materials for transporting your coffee, tea and other hot foods, the institute recommends.

If you are not sure whether you can use it in a microwave, check the product, it should have a symbol either directly on the bottom or its packaging. Sometimes, manufacturers also specify the maximum temperature the material can be exposed to.

Otherwise, seek out pure bamboo products. The structure of such bowls, chopping boards or plates is similar to that of wood fibres, said Stiftung Warentest, a German consumer protection organisation.

Bear in mind that manufacturers may not be required to indicate whether their products contain ground fibres and melamine-formaldehyde resins. They may provide information voluntarily on the packaging or the product itself.

To be on the safe side, you can find lots of environmentally friendly alternatives instead of bamboo. Cups made of stainless steel and porcelain or lunch boxes made of glass are pretty popular right now.

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