Posts Tagged ‘plastic bottles’

Over Exposure

April 8, 2015


We all know about the health risks associated with BPA ( Bisphenol A ) which is thought to potentially cause cancer, endocrine disorders and cardiovascular issues. Exposure to BPA during the second trimester of pregnancy could negatively impact brain development and hormone levels of fetuses.

The chemical is found in hard plastics, such as those used for water bottles, paper reciepts and the lining of many cans. Due to its toxicity, scientists have scrambled to find a replacement.
The new chemical, BPS, is currently being scrutinized and there is concern that it could be even more hazardous to our health than its predecessor. Not only is it thought to have similar negative effects on our bodies, it also stays around longer, due to its strengthened resistance to environmental degradation. Researchers currently estimate that 88% of the population has traces of BPS in their urine.

While we live in a chemically treated society and it is impossible to completely avoid exposure to these chemicals, there are some steps we can take to cut down the amount of exposure we incur.

Ditch the plastic containers. Opt for reusable glass versions for food storage, and metal or glass bottles for water.

If you must use plastic containers, never microwave food in them, or put them in the dishwasher. The change in temperature releases the harmful gasses. Never leave plastic water bottles in the sun. Transfer food to glass or ceramic dishes to reheat.

Wash your hands after handling register reciepts, or accept the paperless option where available.

Purchase milk, juice and other liquids in glass jars or paper cartons. Where possible, opt for tetra packed items, instead of cans. Tomatoes are especially acidic, and cause the chemicals in the lining of the cans to leach into the foods. If you must use cans, try to find those labeled BPA free.

While all of these options can be more costly, it is a small price to pay to lower your risk for deadly diseases.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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How Safe Are Our Household Products?

April 17, 2013

cleaning, chemicals, gloves

Most of us assume that the chemicals we use in our homes have been tested by the government and deemed safe. The cleaning products, food packages and even lotions, soaps and shampoo that are purchased commercially, are laden with chemicals, which may be causing us long-term harm.

While pharmaceuticals and pesticides are subject to government testing, industrial chemicals are not.

In a recent article in the New York Times, it brings to light that the Toxic Substances Control Act, adopted in the 1970s is in dire need of an update.

Under the current policy, companies are required to notify the Environmental Protection Agency before it imports or manufactures a new chemical. They are not required to provide any safety data, unless specifically requested by the agency, which needs to show factors for potential risk. If no steps are taken to block the new chemical within 90 days, it is automatically cleared.

As time goes on, we are becoming increasingly aware of chemical substances that are used in many of our day-to-day products. BPAs in the lining of cans and plastic bottles, flame retardant or stain repellant coatings on textiles and nonylphenols in soaps and shampoos, are just a few of the toxins we are exposed to daily. Even infant care staple, Johnson’s baby shampoo came under scrutiny last year, for the carcinogens used to in their product.

Last week, 2 Senators proposed a bill called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, which would require companies to prove that a chemical is safe, and limit the use of those which are considered “of great concern.”

The bill is backed by 25 Democratic Senators, and supported by environmentalists. It is opposed by the chemical industry, and the Republicans are working on a competing bill that is expected to win the support of the chemical companies.

In the meantime, it is prudent to know what is in the products we use, and to seek alternatives that are safer.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Foods Banned In Europe That Are Approved In The USA

March 24, 2010

Although we think we have the safest food in the world, there are 7 “foodstuffs” that are banned in Europe and still available in United States.

Genetically modified foods have been banned in Europe and continue to be used in the U.S. Although there is no evidence to inform good public policy, the trans-fat controversy has been an example of a modified food with negative impact to our health.

A ban on 22 different pesticides still used in our country prohibits their use in the E.U. While critics claim that the ban will raise prices and may thwart malaria control, advocates say that their harm to public health is a greater threat. Buying organic produce will help you avoid unwanted chemicals in your food.

The bovine growth hormone, known as rBGH, is not allowed in Europe. In contrast, the U.S. fights for laws regarding hormone-free labeling, allowing consumers to have a choice. Choose grass fed, hormone free meat wherever possible, as a healthier option.

Chlorinated chickens are not allowed in Europe, which prohibits the importing of American poultry as a result. Purchasing organic, or free-range natural chickens from a reputable farm can protect you and your family from unnecessary chlorination.

We have spoken about the negative aspects of chemicals in plastics previously. Both the U.S. and Europe regulate food contact use of these chemicals, but the standards of approval are much more stringent in Europe. It is best to avoid plastic bottles altogether, especially those containing liquids. Buy food in recyclable glass bottles wherever possible, and use glass containers to hold liquid leftovers in the refrigerator.

Stevia, the new natural sweetener is unavailable in Europe, although it has been used in Japan for over 30 years.  The European government cites potential disturbances to fertility among other negative health risks, but the sweetener has also been tied to some positive benefits as well. This is a case of exercising caution; it may be the best choice among the chemically based additives (Equal, Sweet + Low) but eliminating any sugar substitutes other than raw honey is the best choice.

The best way to protect yourself from the possible negative effects of some the additives in our food is to be as educated as possible about the risks involved in ingesting them. Buying organic, hormone free foods is a great start. Eating less packaged and processed foods is always a healthier choice. Knowing your food sources and making wise decisions wherever possible is the best route to good health, long-term.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Eliminate a Plastic Bottle a Day to Keep the Doctor Away

January 18, 2010

The US government is finally admitting something that many of us have known for awhile: BPA, a chemical found in plastic and other types of food packaging may be hazardous to your health.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Friday, that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children” and would be studying the chemical in both animals and humans.

Concerns about BPA are based on studies that have been conducted in animals. The FDA has also acknowledged that the chemical seeps into food and baby formula. It seems everyone is exposed to it, beginning in the womb. In a recent study of over 2000 people, 90% of all tested had traces of BPA in their urine, as well as traces in breast milk and the umbilical cord and blood of pregnant women.

The upcoming research will focus on the possible effects of the chemical on behavior, obesity, diabetes, reproductive disorders, cancer, asthma, heart disease and effects that can be passed on generationaly.

While the jury is still out on the actual effects of BPA in humans, we have already started limiting our use of plastics.

You can protect yourself by making some small changes in your day-to-day life:

  • Start drinking filtered water from an aluminum bottle. Not only does this limit your exposure to BPA, it also is better for the environment, and your wallet.
  • Do not drink hot liquids from plastic cups, or plastic coated cups.
  • Never put plastics in the dishwasher, or microwave. The chemicals are released when they come in contact with heat.
  • Avoid any plastics marked on the bottom with the number 7. That particular grade of plastic is made with BPA.
  • The linings of some cans, and other food packaging also contains plastics made with BPAs.
  • Avoiding convenience foods wherever possible, and eating fresh, locally grown foods is always the best choice, both for your health, and the environment. The FDA is now recommending breast-feeding for infants up to 12 months of age to avoid plastic baby bottles and sippy cups which contain BPA.

While giving up conveniences, like plastic containers and children’s products seem like a burden today, if someone told you that you could avoid life threatening diseases for you and your loved ones by eliminating plastic food packaging, would there be any question in your mind?

photo: glasshouse images

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