Plastics could trigger allergic reactions
For many Americans, grocery shopping is a burden they would prefer to avoid, but some shoppers may have an excuse not to do so, as they are allergic to plastic bags.
While skin allergies to products made with plastic have been reported in the past, most people are able to withstand painful contact dermatitis outbreaks because of the specific chemical makeup of a majority of plastic materials.
"There are a bunch of chemicals in plastics that can cause an allergy, usually when they're in the raw material state, and the unfinished products," dermatologist Patrick Fowler told CNN. "But because the chemicals in finished products are bound so tightly, it's awfully hard for them to penetrate to the skin and set off the allergy."
According to the blog Allergy Treatments and Symptoms, many plastics contain phthalates, which are compounds that increase the transparency, durability, flexibility and longevity of plastic products. In some countries, including the United States, phthalates are being phased out, due to health concerns stemming from multiple studies that have shown that this substance is released into the air when plastic products break down.
Experts have also identified another potential culprit behind plastic allergies. Some speculate that certain plastic products, such as grocery bags, contain lingering chemical additives related to the manufacturing process, not the production process. These chemicals, not the plastic itself, could be responsible for some allergic reactions.
Avoiding plastic products altogether may be a tall task, given their prevalence in today's world. Still, if an allergy suffer finds particular items cause contact dermatitis, he or she should take strides to avoid the item. In instances where the specific allergen is unknown, consultation with an allergist could help an allergy sufferer hone in on identifying the particular irritant.