The food safety department under the Health Ministry issued a warning Monday that all 13 samples of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) food wraps collected in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City tested positive for a toxic plasticizer.
However, it said the amounts of DEHA (Bis 2-ethylhexyl adipate), a plasticizer harmful to the endocrine system, met EU safety standards of less than18mg per kilogram, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
Two other samples of polyethylene (PE) food wraps were also tested but no DEHA was detected.
PE is the most popular form of plastic. It usually is used for packaging, while PVC is commonly used for construction purposes, and is often softened with plasticizers.
Lam Hung of the ministry’s Food Safety and Hygiene Department said DEHA can impair male sexual function, and can cause premature sexual development in females.
It said people should use PE film to wrap foods, as PVC usually contains DEHA.
It also said that the substance tends to leak more into fatty foods and those heated above 70 degrees Celsius.
The ministry ordered tests of the food wraps in late July after Chinese media reported the presence of DEHA among PVC plastic wrap in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou supermarkets.
China banned the use of DEHA in food packaging in 2005, while Vietnam lacks specific regulations regarding the toxin.
Plastic wraps for food sold in Vietnam are made in Thailand, China, South Korea and locally, and have become a common product in many households due to their convenience.