Toxic Talk Tuesday – Plastics

plastics (1)

Last month on Chris and Andrea’s Toxic Talk Tuesday broadcast, they tackled the issue of plastics.  Andrea begins by once again testifying to the fact that she used to be the “‘Paul’ of plastics”–that is, she used to speak against people who spoke against plastics.  But when their family faced a major health crisis, she found herself having to concede that perhaps plastic is not as great as we once believer. Plastic is one of those things that is absolutely everywhere around us now, and yet it hasn’t been around for that long.  More and more studies are revealing the possible dangers from the use of so much plastic.

What IS plastic?

Plastic is the term used for a wide range of synthetic solids (polyethylene, PVC, nylon, etc.) derived primarily from crude oil.  Variants of plastic formed out of organic compounds have been traced as early as the Middle Ages, but it wasn’t until after the First World War that improvements in chemical technology led to the highly plasticized world in which we now live.  As Andrea points out, we have always lived with scarcity.  For instance, before WWII hardly anyone had a plastic comb, and after the way nearly everyone did. Now we’re not even sure what a comb without plastic would be made of! (bamboo, anyone?:-)

What is so wrong with plastic?

The newest research shows that the BPA and phthalates in plastics are endocrine disruptors. That’s fancy words for chemicals that mess with our hormones. The disruptions can cause anything from cancer, to birth defects, to developmental disorders. Studies show even low level exposure can be harmful to people, especially  fetuses.  While it is becoming much more widely accepted that plastics are harmful, it is taking some time to see that carry over into any sort of government regulations to that affect.  For instance, BPA has been proven to be harmful in plastics and many other substances, however, the FDA only recently banned in from baby bottles and sippy cups.  In the US, even though it has been proven to be harmful, they did not also ban in from food packaging, such as canned goods and frozen foods stored in plastic bags.

As Andrea so wisely notes in the program, it would be all but impossible to go totally without plastic in our world.  But finding as many alternatives as possible would seem to be a wise choice. Being informed is the best way to combat this challenge!

Here are Andrea’s suggestions on how to Life with Less Plastic in 10 Simple Steps!

We use this shower curtain!

Bottled Water Contaminants Study

10 Canned Foods to Avoid due to BPA

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