Debra Lynn Dadd

Eating Off Paper Towels?

QUESTION:

Do you have any research on the safety of eating off paper towels??

POSTED BY RICH :: TEXAS USA :: 09/11/2006 9:26 AM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

There are two chemicals of concern in paper towels. The first is formaldehyde, which is used for wet strength of the paper, and the other is dioxin, which may be present from the bleaching of the paper.

Dioxin is an extremely toxic chemical and has been found to leach into foods such as milk from bleached paper cartons. Formaldehyde is a volatile chemical that can be released into the air and absorbed by other materials.

I couldn't find any research that shows how much dioxin or formaldehyde is emitted from paper towels or absorbed by food that has been sitting on them for a few minutes. My opinion is that if the food is simply sitting on the towel for a few minutes, it is probably absorbing very little of either chemical. But my best recommendation would be to use a plate instead.

If you are going to use paper towels, it's better to use the unbleached brown towels. There is more info on choosing paper towels in Green Seal's Choose Green Report on Bathroom Tissue and Paper Towels.

Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

would paper plates have similar issues, as the paper towels?

thanks..

POSTED BY WT :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 09/13/2006 7:03 PM


According to a Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet on Formaldehyde, "formaldehyde is used in the manufacture of grocery bags, paper cups and plates, waxed paper, facial tissues, napkins, paper towels, and sanitary napkins," so yes, what I said about paper towels applies to all these other products as well.

POSTED BY DEBRA LYNN DADD :: DEBRA LYNN DADD :: DLD123.COM :: FLORIDA USA :: 09/14/2006 4:10 AM


Personally I would be more concerned about the amount of waste you're creating by using paper towels instead of just regular plates. Yes, plates need to be washed, but over the whole lifetime of the plate I think the resources used to wash it are a lot less than to create an equivalent amount of paper towels.

POSTED BY JESSICA :: TEXAS USA :: 09/20/2006 12:59 PM


hello....scary about using paper towels! I cover my cup of hot water with a paper towel when it is in the microwave to heat for tea! Should I quit using them? Thanks B

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: I wouldn't use paper towels for this purpose. The exposure would be small, but better to eliminate exposures where you can. (But, I don't use a microwave oven either.)

POSTED BY BEC MCGRATH :: INDIANA USA :: 10/03/2006 4:12 PM


what about eating paper towels? i wanted to get some cellulose.

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: I wouldn't eat a paper towel. All plant foods contain cellulose, so munch on any vegetable or fruit instead.


POSTED BY LG :: FLORIDA USA :: 11/04/2006 10:26 AM


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