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Shanghai Probes Unsafe PVC Cling Film

Shanghai will conduct a spot check of local supermarkets to see how many are using PVC cling films to wrap food and if the films are unsafe, government officials announced yesterday.


Officials wouldn't say, however, if the city will ban the use of PVC cling film, which is out of use in several other countries.


The issue became a hot topic among the public this week amid media reports that Japanese and South Korean companies are exporting PVC cling film to China even though it is banned in both of the countries.


None of the media reports pointed to a specific scientific study to prove the product is dangerous to humans, and PVC cling films are still used in many developed countries. "We suggest consumers choose cling films that meet the national standards and use them in accordance with the directions," said city government spokeswoman Jiao Yang.


Currently, cling films are made out of three materials: PVDC or polyvinylindene chloride; PE or polytene; and PVC or polyvinly chloride.


Due to the low cost, PVC has been widely used by domestic supermarkets to package foods.


Critics claim the films contain chemicals linked to breast cancer, mental problems and deficiencies in newborns.


While the local government hasn't taken action against PVC cling film, some supermarkets have started to use PE cling film. Lotus Supermarket is one of them. According to Xiang Jun, a spokesman for the supermarket chain, the company will replace all the PVC cling films with PE films by the end of this week.


Lianhua Supermarket said it started to use PE cling films in 2000.


Not all consumers are concerned by the media reports.


"I don't care about that," said Zhu Huaqing, a regular supermarket consumer. "I think the present discussion is a little exaggerated. Proper use shouldn't hamper people's health."Others are worried, however.


"I felt my health was threatened when I heard this news," said Wang Jia, who often buys fruits and vegetables at Carrefour Supermarket. "I won't buy goods packed in cling film from supermarkets until the government gives a clear explanation and solution to this issue."


(Shanghai Daily October 20, 2005)

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