Plastics, Friend or Foe?

Plastics in the kitchen

Plastics have been the savior in the kitchen, if you believe the advertising. From plastic storage containers, to disposable plastic tableware, to plastic cups, plates, plastic “glasses”, and bags we put everything in. Polycarbonate plastic is also the major epoxy resin liner for metal cans. Canned soups and infant formulas are contained in plastics, even baby bottles and “sippy cups” are made of these materials. Most of us couldn’t imagine life without it: most of our food is purchased in some sort of plastic, and then the grocery store places all of those plastic containers in yet another plastic bag. In addition, that grocery store receipt, along with every other receipt with thermal paper, also contains BPA’s in the thermal resin. Plastic has made our life easier, and supposedly has gotten us healthier water, in those plastic bottles. But does all of that come at a cost? Not just a cost to our environment, but a cost to our health.

Bisphenol A

How is all this plastic made? And what do we care? Well, we may care about what is in it that may cause problems to our bodies. It took a long time, but research finally came out about the toxins that enter our bodies through our favorite plastics. One of the major culprits is called Bisphenol A, which is commonly called BPA. So what is this BPA? You may have heard that BPA’s are “bad”, and are “toxins”, but what does that really mean to you?

Research and Findings

Research has been clear enough, that even the FDA is paying attention. (And we know they are fairly slow on denigrating anything industry produced.) The findings show:

As an endocrine/hormone disrupter, it causes:

  • Reduced fertility in women

  • Reduced testosterone and libido in men

  • Defects in developing embryos

If that isn’t scary enough, there are more effects:

BPA’s are inked with obesity, heart disease and diabetes in children.

They have even been found to damage tooth enamel.

If you go to Google Scholar, you will see over ten pages of studies and their results on BPA’s. If you really want to get into the research, have a great time. However, enough people have reviewed the studies and the literature that it is clear that BPA’s are a problem to our health in at least the issues cited above.

Public Reactions

Since the FDA had to take some action with these results, they at least banned the sale of baby bottles containing BPA’s.

As news of the risks of BPA’s became public, some manufacturers started producing “BPA free” plastics. However, what they failed to divulge is that instead of using Bisphenol A, they started using Bisphenol S; BPS instead of BPA. It turns out, BPS’s are just as much an endocrine disruptor as BPA’s. So we can’t even turn to “BPA Free” plastics for a solution. May I add that just as BPS and BPA are known toxins in plastics, it raises the question of what other chemicals in plastic are toxins, that have not even been researched? Just because we haven’t researched it, doesn’t mean it is good.

Is there any good news, now that I have told you that some of the most common products in your kitchen are causing hormone imbalance in your entire family? Even the unborn children of your children? Yes, they have found these toxins carry down to several generations.

What can we do?

Be aware. Know where these chemicals are hiding, and try to reduce them as much as possible. Just try to reduce the plastics in your life. Make the day to day decisions to avoid plastic. It may mean replacing your storage containers with glass, or limiting the use of plastic dishware, or finding a glass container to carry your water in. The simple act of refilling a glass water bottle is so much better for the environment, your pocketbook, as well as your health. I won’t tell you to purchase your soft drinks in glass instead of plastic bottles or cans, because they aren’t even available in glass anymore. However, I would suggest avoiding soft drinks all together and making lemonade or iced tea at home, but be sure to use glass containers. Better yet, add a slice of lemon to your water and drink to your health, and help support your liver at the same time.

BPA’s have made it into our environment, and we don’t know what they are going to do to us in the long run. However, we can avoid adding to that burden. It may seem difficult, but take it as a transition time. Slowly purchasing some glass storage containers, and making a few more decisions at the grocery store, all help to lighten the load and help you transition. It can take time, but we all need to start somewhere.

You may not be as concerned with the toxic load on the environment as you are on the health of your family, but you need to be aware that the toxins in the environments will be affecting your grand children. I hope that makes you think twice about one time use of those plastic bags, bottles and utensils. Convenience comes at a cost to someone, and often times it comes at a cost to many people. Is it really so hard to wash forks and spoons? Is it really so hard to carry a glass water bottle? Is it too embarrassing to carry your own reusable bag into the grocery store to have it filled? I remember the days when I would hand them my reusable bag, and the checkers would look at me like I was from Mars. I could see them wondering what they were supposed to do with it. I actually had to tell them to use it to put my groceries into. Now it is much more acceptable, it’s even trendy, and you will look “cool”, instead of a fool.

If you want even more ideas on how to reduce the toxins in your life and home, come to our next talk at The Body Therapy Center in Swansea, IL. Be sure to keep informed on our activities by signing up for our emails.

To your health,

Patti Bealer
Girls Gone Kale