Chemicals and food storage?

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Chemicals and food storage?

Post by VeniVidiVici » Fri Sep 12, 2014 2:24 pm

Hey guys, I made a 1 week disaster kit a number of years ago that had bathroom stuff, soaps, canteens, filtration gear, clothes, blankets, etc all in one giant tub. Long story short, I popped it open today to rotate out some items and immediately noticed that the raisins tasted like soap. :? They were stored separately in a sealed container so I'm not sure how any leaching issues could have occurred. I had the tub stored above my washing machine so it might have been exposed to vapors from laundry detergent.

What are your thoughts? Is chemical leakage possible through a tub and a sealed food container? I'm hoping it's just a placebo effect because when I put it up there I did worry about the detergents. I definitely don't want to throw away the canned goods I had in there either but, it looks like I might have to if they ended up like the raisins.
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Re: Chemicals and food storage?

Post by Maast » Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:42 pm

Unless you're storing things in metal, metal-lined (like mylar bags) or glass, oxygen water vapor and other small molecules (including ones that carry taste/smell) will seep right through almost any plastic. PET is the best but even that seeps.

For an experiment, place a mothball in any plastic container you want and seal it up good. Let it sit for a few days at room temp and give the container a sniff, you'll be able to easily smell the mothball.
I found this out myself a LONG time ago (pre-prepping) when I wanted to store some mothballs in a empty plastic peanut butter jar and discovered I smelled mothballs whenever I walked past that part of the garage. I tried a couple other containers then put them in a reused glass pickle jar and that finally stopped the stink. I still have the pickle jar and it's still half-full of mothballs.
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Re: Chemicals and food storage?

Post by Invisible » Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:47 pm

Polymers tend to be permeable to an extent. That's why mylar bags used for food storage are metalised and not just plastic.

Organic vapours might get through polymers more easily because polymers are organic too. Detergents are chemicals with a water-attaching end and a fat-attaching end - the fat attaching end might make it more likely to get through a polymer (that's a guess, I don't know for sure, but it's a possibility).

Chlorine in some cleaning products tends to be given off (even if only in tiny amounts) and that can embrittle some plastics, making them more permeable too.

Some polymers if kept in contact with other polymers will leech into each other, especially if one has a lot of plasticiser in it like rubber. I've had rubber feet melt into a plastic worktop when kept there for a long time, and rubber-covered crocodile clips eat their way right through a plastic storage tray.

So, yeah, cross-contamination is certainly something to think about.
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Re: Chemicals and food storage?

Post by Honeypot » Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:54 pm

VeniVidiVici, what kind of soaps were in the "giant tub"?
Many soap brands contain stunningly strong perfumes, which may have been the problem.

Consider repeating the experiment with an unscented soap, or Dr.Bronner's, or no soap (and no other perfumed items). I've experienced smilar issues, until I made the switch.

I doubt that the laundry room was the problem. You can eliminate that possibility by making two new tubs, with identical items, and store one in the laundry room and one in a more scent free environment. In a few months, check & compare them, and report back here please. :)

Also, did you ever post this project?
If so, link please, if not, new porn and/or thread please. :)
Sounds cool.
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