Many of you are familiar with the need to buy BPA-free plastic. Bisphenol A (BPA), is an estrogen-like endocrine disruptor that may leach into food. Research finds that BPA leached from the lining of tin cans, dental sealants and plastic bottles can increase body weight of lab animals' offspring. A more recent animal study suggests that even low-level exposure to BPA results in insulin resistance, which can lead to inflammation and heart disease. There are now BPA-free products, yet, in 2011 it was reported that "almost all plastic products" sampled released chemicals that acted like estrogen.
Plastic products contain a variety of additives, some of which can be toxic. For example, plasticizers are often added to brittle plastics to make them pliable enough for use in food packaging, toys, and many other items. Traces of these compounds can leach out of the product. Due to concerns over the effects of such leachates, the European Union has restricted their use in some applications, and the United States has limited the use of them in children's toys. Some compounds leaching from food containers have been proposed to interfere with hormone functions and might cause cancer.
So what do we do with this information, other than live in a bubble? The goal is to avoid plastic whenever possible. Avoid plastic forks, knives, spoons by having stainless steel ones at work and even carry them in your purse. You can do the same with straws and buy stainless steel straws on Amazon. Instead of buying water in plastic water bottles carry your water with you in a stainless steel bottle or now they have glass bottles as an option too which I love. I even have ones in the office where the glass is specially made to restructure the water and even have the office logo on them. To learn more about the Flaska water bottle, read here.
Instead of storing your food in plastic containers buy Pyrex which is glass containers with rubber tops. I use Pyrex for my daughter's school lunches too instead of ziplock bags. Yes, the lunch bag is a little heavier but definitely doable. When ordering takeout I try to get my takeout put in cardboard boxes like those used at Chinese restaurants or styrofoam. When buying fruits and vegetables get them out of plastic bags as soon as you can. Do the same when buying a salad. If you are going to take it back to the office/home take it out of the plastic bowl and put it into your own ceramic bowl. The same can be done with iced coffee. With hot coffee, just take the plastic lid off and drink straight from the cup.
Plastic is harder to avoid when eating yogurts, using a water filter or buying frozen vegetables so I ask my patients when detoxing plastic to do the best they can to avoid it and within weeks the plastic detox can be finished because they made a few key changes that allows the body to no longer be overloaded with plastic toxins and whatever plastic is still leaching into the body, the body can detox on it's own.
A healthy body is able to handle a little plastic toxicity every now and then. It's over time a buildup can occur with constant plastic use. The whole point of health in our office is to identify toxins and support the body to detox them while restoring health. Of the 14 heavy chemicals I check for in the office plastic comes up often so it's good to understand that all plastics are a concern and not just plastics containing BPA.