Plastics and the dangers to health……
To remain healthy and increase or maintain a good level of daily vitality we need to decrease our toxic load.
We are constantly bombarded with toxins both externally and internally. We are flooded with external toxins in our food, water supply, air we breathe, products we use on our skin, to clean the house and store our food.
Although the body is well designed to eliminate harmful toxins, as with most things there is a threshold past which the body will struggle, and present with the early signs of ill health and even disease. Basic signs such as lethargy, dry skin/pimples, non-specific aches are all indicators that the body is starting to struggle.
In this piece we are going to address the toxins that are found in plastics and how we can reduce our toxic load in the kitchen!
Not all plastics are equal. Some plastics can leach toxins into the food and drink that we consume.
One of the main culprits is PBA (bisphenol A). PBA containing plastic looks quite hard in nature almost like glass ( it can be clear or coloured). This plastic is often used for drinking bottles and containers, cooking utensils and some baby products such as dummies/rattles.
There is evidence that BPA can leech into food and drink which then causes harm to our system by increasing our toxic load.
The problem arises from a chemical group called xenoestrogens which mimic natural oestrogen in the body and interfere with normal hormonal signals. This interference has been shown to increase the risk of cancer of the breast, prostate, and reproductive systems. It also has links to menstrual problems and weight gain (oestrogen is a ‘fat storage’ hormone).
Xenoestrogens have also been found in herbicides and pesticides that can be found in small quanitites in our drinking water. This is why we want to be drinking filtered water where available.
So what do we need to watch out for…….
Plastics are typically classified by a number from #1 to #7, each number representing a different type of resin. That number is usually imprinted on the bottom of your container; flip it upside down, and you’ll see a recycling triangle with the number in the middle.
Below is a list :-
–#1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE)
Products: Soft drink bottles, medicine containers
–#2 high density polyethylene (HDPE)
Products: Toys, bottles for milk, water, detergent, shampoo, motor oil
—#3 polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC)
Products: Pipe,glad wrap, cooking oil bottles
–#4 low density polyethylene (LDPE)
Products: Wrapping films, grocery bags
–#5 polypropylene (PP)
Products: Syrup bottles, yogurt tubs, diapers/nappies
—#6 polystyrene (PS)
Products: Coffee cups, clam-shell take-out boxes
—#7 other (usually polycarbonate)
Products: Medical storage containers, some Nalgene water bottles
The Plastics to Avoid are highlighted in red.
Number3 is highlighted ( polyvinyl chloride -PVC) as it is often used frequently in cling wraps. This can be problematic as PVC contains softeners called phthalates that can interfere with hormonal development. The manufacture and incineration of cling wrap dioxin releases a potent carcinogen and hormone disruptor. The FDA advises placing microwave-safe plastic wrap loosely over food so that the steam can escape. Plastic wrap should not directly touch your food. It is best to microwave the food in glass or ceramic containers.
#6 PS – Extruded polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) can also leach styrene into food; this is considered a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
We want to avoid products with #3,6,7 as these can be potentially harmful if the the toxin leaches into our food and water supply.
Avoid microwaving food in plastic and glad wrap
Store water and food in glass containers
Look for products with recycle numbers #2,4,5 to store food
Carry water in aluminium/stainless steel bottles
Use paraben free products (cosmetics and personal hygene)
Wrap food in paper or foil
Use a ceramic water purifier (many plastic ones use PBA)
Keep your eye out for plastics from corn. These bags are still durable but biodegrade within 2 weeks