It’s so easy to use plastic, and re-use it – again, and again – without conscious thought. Plastic is a part of our daily modern lives when it comes to convenient food storage, preparation, and purchasing.
However, many of the chemicals used in plastic are hormone altering and have been found to cause adverse health effects in pregnant mice and their babies (Yang et al., 2011). The risk of endocrine disruption from plastics is greatest during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming (NIEHS, 2017). Production of plastics also generates air pollution, while discarded plastic contributes to our ever-growing landfills.
Chemicals are most likely to migrate into our food when exposed to high heat, harsh soaps, and fat. How can you be cautious with your use of plastics in your household? Below are some easy steps, which additionally have the benefit of encouraging other healthy behaviours!
- Do a catalogue of your plastic inventory – e.g. plastic wrap bags, plastic coffee containers – and try to replace with alternatives such as waxed and brown paper bags or metal canisters (i.e. a thermos).
- Reduce how frequently you purchase take-out and fast food in plastic containers. Instead, replace with more fresh food from local producers, if possible, and carry it home in glass, paper, or ceramic containers.
- Purchase glass bottles for drinking water and baby bottles. Avoid drinking water from 5-gallon plastic water coolers.
- Don’t microwave your food in plastic! Replace instead with ceramic or glass containers.
- Discoloration, cracks, or other signs of wear suggest that the plastic is degrading. Try replacing with glass or Pyrex.
- If you keep your plastics – wash them by hand in warm water and mild detergent to avoid the possibility of chemicals ‘leaching’ out of plastics.
- Avoid plastics #3 (Vinyl or PC), #6 (Polystyrene), and #7 (Other – Polycarbonate) as the biggest-risk types of plastic.
Use these strategies to help put you on track for cutting back on the presence of plastic in your healthy house. For some further reading on avoiding hormone-disrupting chemicals in your home, check out this NRDC article.
We are so excited to be hosting the 10th Annual KW Cleanse kick-off event on Tuesday April 24th. Consider joining us to learn more about avoiding toxins in your daily life!
Yang, Chun Z.; Yaniger, Stuart I.; Jordan, Craig V.; Klein, Daniel J.; & Bittner, George D. (2011). Environmental Health Perspectives 119(7): 989-996. Available for viewing at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2017). Endocrine Disrupters. Available for viewing at: https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfm