Food Turned Cancer: A Newspaper Wrap

by Team Onco

Do you enjoy eating roadside pakora, vada, or bhel that’s being wrapped in a newspaper? Then, you are literally inviting cancer into your precious life. 

Wrapping food in newspapers is commonly observed in India. This practice has been around for years and still continuing because it’s an easy and cheap practice to pack, serve, and transfer food. Lack of awareness about ink adherence to food could be the reason behind such activities.

Ink used in newspapers causes cancer

Newspaper Ink Contaminates Food:

Research shows that the ink used for printing newspapers contains chemicals that can potentially increase the risk of cancer. when chemicals enter our body along with food, we are encountered with cancer risk. Mainly when hot or oily foods are packed in newspapers, chemicals have higher chances to enter the food. Even at home, newspapers are used to drain excess oil from deep-fried foods. This poses a threat to food quality and safety. 

“Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) says printing ink contains carcinogens. When warm food is placed in the newspaper, the ink melts and exposes the body to various health problems.”

Not only newspapers but even food wrapped in aluminium and plastic does harm. Unfortunately, this unhealthy practice has been everywhere in India.

Does it Really Cause Cancer?

Not certainly, but there are chances. Inks used in newspaper printing are composed of bio-actives such as Naphthylamine, and Aromatic Hydrogen and Carbon Compounds. These are potent cancer-causing agents. Newspapers also contain mineral oils, pigments, additives, and preservatives. 

Research done on this issue concluded that newspaper printing workers have been diagnosed with lung cancer and bladder cancer because of repeated and prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals like Naphthylamine, Benzophenone, Benzidine, and 4-Aminobiphenyl. 

Benzophenone is also found to affect the hormone-secreting glands among babies and pregnant women.

Here’s the list of problems that one may face of consuming food wrapped in the newspaper:

  • According to an experiment carried out in Manchester, England, most labourers working in newspaper printing are affected by lung cancer due to exposure to chemicals.
  • Bladder cancer is the next commonly diagnosed cancer in labourers and is known to be associated with the dye and ink of newspapers.
  • Long-term exposure to such chemicals can cause problems to the heart, bones, kidneys, lungs, liver, and brain.
  • Digestive problems are also reported by people having food wrapped in newspapers… 

Mainly the elderly, children, teenagers, and people with compromised vital organs and weakened immune systems are at high risk of acquiring cancer-related problems.

It is said that excessive consumption of newspaper-wrapped foods puts one’s health at risk equivalent to a seldom cigarette smoker.

Keep in mind that newspapers used to wrap foods are not fresh. Those are transported and may have travelled across several hands from preparation to reaching the hands of vendors. Also, newspapers are prepared from recycled paper.

There are chances of contamination and accumulation of pathogenic microorganisms during this process. It can neither be sterilised nor washable. So, the harm doubles up and puts your health at risk. 

Is There a Solution?

Of course yes, encourage serving or having food in stainless steel, leaves, or glass vessels. These are free from harmful bacteria, chemicals, and germs. 

Here are some healthy alternatives for food packaging and serving:

Stainless steel, sea wood, bamboo, and cornstarch packaging. These are eco-friendly and biodegradable materials.

Healthy alternatives to prevent cancer through food conuming

Implementing the use of such biodegradable food packing materials reduces harm to our health and environment as well.

“Spread Awareness and Prohibit Serving in Newspapers”

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