An American Cancer Society official said a chemical in plastic food wraps has been linked to cancer in mice.
Dr. E Cuyler Hammond, chief epidemiologist of the society, discussed the finding Tuesday at a news conference with Dr. Cesare Maltoni, a cancer researcher from Bologna, Italy, who made the discovery.
But he said he, personally, would continue to use plastic food wraps, and, "It is my personal opinion consumers at this point need have no worry."
The chemical, vinylidine chloride, is related to vinyl chloride, which has been proved to have cancer-causing properties under certain circumstances.
Maltoni said a human would need to eat a ton of the material to take in an equivalent of that fed to animals, based on body weight.
A spokesman for Dow Chemical, makers of Saran Wrap and other plastic wrapping products, said federal agencies have known about the mouse experiments on vinylidine chloride since late January.
"The study showed no effect in rats, no effect in hamsters and an effect in a given strain of mice, which are susceptible to kidney damage," the spokesman, Joseph Strasser, said, adding:
"We have seen the data and we feel that Dow has no reason to change its procedures either with its workers or the requirements we have set on our products for health and safety."