Burning Plastic with Chametz causes cancer

Today we burned our chametz. All unleavened bread and foods have to be removed from the house or sold before Pesach (Passover). Part of the tradition includes burning the last bits of chametz the day before the holiday. Since the holiday starts on Sunday, and we are forbidden from making fires on Shabbat, we do it on Friday morning instead.

In our neighborhood, someone usually starts a fire, others join, and before you know there’s a bonfire. The one thing that puts a hamper for me on this age-old tradition is having to walk thru the carcinogenic air around each fire.

Every year I see folks burning plastic bags along with the chametz they collected. I went to UrbanLegends.com to see if maybe I was mistaken in what I’ve always known to be true. Burning plastic causes cancer. Although the urban legends site says that there is no evidence that using plastic containers in microwaves, there is however great cause for concern if PVC is present in the plastic (which is common in grocery store plastic bags).

Studies have shown that dioxins may be released into the atmosphere when chlorinated plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — which is a component of some plastic wraps and food packaging — are incinerated at high temperatures.

So next year when you go to burn your chametz, please be advised that burning plastic is dangerous to your health and the health of those around you.

plastic bag cancer