Polyvinyl-chloride (PVC) plastic wrap was banned overseas because it contains toxic substances. However, PVC from Korea and Japan is still used extensively in China. This continued usage of hazardous products is due to an old regulation issued by the Ministry of Health of China in 1988. The regulation is outdated but is still applicable without restricting the use of PVC in food wrapping and packaging.
As reported by the First Finance and Economic Daily, PVC plastic wrap is quite toxic to the human body. The toxic substances within PVC are easily spread onto the food. Once they enter the human body, they have harmful effects in terms of carcinogenesis, which may cause breast cancer, birth defects, male reproductive disorders, and even mental illness.
Due to the toxicity level, PVC in food wrap has been banned entirely in many countries such as the US, Japan, Singapore, South Korean and in Europe, according to an announcement by the World Packing Organization Council.
However, it is still extensively used in China. In some of the supermarkets in Shanghai, PVC plastic wrap has been used to wrap vegetables, fruits, meat and other cooked foods.
The PVC products in China mainly come from Japan and Korea. Among them, the three brands LG, Mitsubishi, and Sunlong share 80 percent of the market.
According to the PVC dealers in China, PVC was first introduced there in 1995 and was initially used mainly in supermarkets and hotels. At that time, the total amount consumed in China was only several tons, but now the amount consumed per year is more than 15,000 tons. The demand for PVC plastic wrap in China increases over 30 percent every year.
As reported, PVC plastic wrap is able to enter the Chinese market so smoothly because the products meet the necessary hygiene standards stipulated by China. According to the Shanghai Plastics Industry Association, the Ministry of Health of China last issued the national standard for PVC plastic food wrap in 1988. Since then, no new regulation has been issued to ban the usage of PVC in plastic food wrap, and all the test centers examine the products according to that out-dated standard.
Concerning the use of PVC in food wrap in China, some enterprises do not believe PVC plastic wrap contains carcinogenic substances because the Chinese authoritative organizations have not reached this conclusion yet. When the question was posed to a Japanese representative, the answer is that China has not prohibited the production of PVC plastic wrap yet.