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Easy Way to Avoid Bad Plastics and the Research to Remind You Why

This email was passed on to my sister who passed it on to me.

Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 8:43 AM

Subject: plastics

Hey so I was reading the other day about the toxins in plastics, and I was thinking how frustrating it is to determine which kind of plastic is the most dangerous, and this article was really helpful b/c it said to avoid recycling numbers 3 & 7 b/c those are the ones with thalates and Bisphenol A. That’s an easy way to figure out what to avoid.

She is right & here is a great guide from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Smart Plastics PDF Guide

Why are we being so careful? Did you know that Phthalates are in more than just plastics? Here are some of the most recent research articles

Reproductive Malformation of the Male Offspring Following Maternal Exposure to Estrogenic Chemicals

Levels of Seven Urinary Phthalate Metabolites in a Human Reference Population, October 2000

Review of the second article from the author of Our Stolen Future, Dr. Theo Colborn:

[bottom line] What did they find? They found that the phthalate monoesters with the highest urinary levels were monoethyl phthalate (MEP), monobutyl phthalate (MBP) and monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP). The presence of these monester metabolites reflects exposure to diethyl phthalate (DEP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP). the subgroup with the highest level of exposure was women of child-bearing age, just the people public health efforts should keep out of the path of reproductive toxicants. Phthalates are used widely in many unregulated products that fall through the regulatory cracks. These failures in regulation have created many untoward exposures whose health consequences we do not understand but could be quite important. Likely sources of these exposures are through cosmetics, including hair sprays, nail polishes and perfumes.

Further analysis showed that the distribution of contamination levels in the sample population including a small but significant number of individuals with high concentrations of MBP. A plausible but untested hypothesis is that these high levels result from cosmetics use, as this is a common application of dibutyl phthalate, the compound from which MBP is derived.

The exposure of women of child-bearing age is especially troubling, as these compounds are particularly known for their ability to interfere with fetal development, especially in males. There may be a tragic irony in the fact that one of the pathways of exposure, cosmetics, is targeted especially toward women of reproductive age. By using phthalate-containing compounds in the battle of the sexes, they could be undermining the future sexuality of their male offspring.

Some advice from a very good source:

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Q & A on Bisphenol A, Phthalates, and Dioxin, June 3rd, 2008 :

A distilled version of the Q & A

on Bisphenol A (BPA)

…it is probably wiser, environmentally, to drink water from the tap, from reusable containers.

…recent studies indicate that current levels of exposure to BPA in early life may have long-term health consequences. In laboratory animal studies, exposure to BPA in utero and during infancy was found to adversely affect brain development and behavior. Laboratory animal studies also showed that early life exposures may alter development of the prostate gland in males and the mammary gland in females, as well as trigger an earlier start to puberty in females.

Consumers should be more concerned with the initial quality of the drinking water inside a container. Many people buy bottled water because they do not feel comfortable drinking tap water. The truth is that tap water in the United States is more highly regulated and monitored for quality compared to bottled water

It is a good idea to bring water with you for long car trips and activities like sports and hiking. Since these water supplies are likely to be in hot vehicles and in the hot sun, BPA-free containers should be considered.

…the time of greatest sensitivity to BPA occurs in utero (passed directly from mother to baby) and during infancy and early childhood. By far, the highest estimated exposures are to infants who are fed liquid formula that has been packed in food cans with epoxy linings, and served in BPA-containing polycarbonate bottles. We also know that the metabolic pathways for eliminating BPA have not matured in newborns.

{Bottom line} If infant formula is needed, powdered infant formula has lower levels of BPA than liquid formula. As a precaution, glass bottles or BPA-free plastic bottles can be used for bottle feeding. You should avoid using polycarbonate bottles that have the recycling code “7” on the bottom. (The code “7” includes a number of other plastics as well as polycarbonates.) If you do use plastic bottles, do not heat them in the microwave and, after washing, allow them to cool off before adding formula.

We use plastics for many purposes. They are everywhere in our environment. If you are concerned about exposure to chemicals in plastics, a common sense approach would be to use alternatives when it is practical and safe. For instance, when cooking you may wish to use products made from inert materials like stainless steel or glass instead of plastic. It is also good advice to follow directions and to only use plastic products as they were intended by the manufacturer, particularly when cooking. Metal items and many plastic containers are not safe to use in a microwave oven. For microwaving, use glass or plastic containers that are labeled “microwave safe”

on phthalates:

There is another group of chemicals, called phthalates that are also associated with manufacture of plastics. Phthalates are sometimes added to plastics, like polyvinyl chloride or PVC, to make them flexible and less brittle. Although they are not typically found in plastics used for water bottles sold in the U.S., they used to be found in baby bottle nipples and teething toys. Phthalates are environmental contaminants that can exhibit hormone-like behavior by acting as endocrine disruptors in humans and animals. If you heat up plastics, you could increase the leaching of phthalates from the containers into water and food.

Microwaving food in contact with plastic wrap is another potential source of exposure, but a few years ago manufacturers in the U.S. replaced PVC plastic wrap with low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which does not contain phthalates. Plastic wrap from other countries or marketed for commercial or non-food uses may still contain PVC.

However, you can reduce the potential for exposures by using glass containers or plastics that are known to be free of phthalates, as well as plastic wrap that are known to be phthalate-free. In any case, make sure that the plastic wrap is not in contact with the food (which can melt plastic onto the food).

on dioxin:

Dioxins are organic environmental pollutants…Dioxins are formed in the environment by combustion, including wildfires and volcanic eruptions. Today scientists are concerned about the incineration of waste, particularly hospital waste, which contains large quantities of PVC and aromatic compounds that can serve as dioxin precursors. When dioxins are sent into the atmosphere they can become attached to particles and fall back to earth where they bind, or are taken up by fish and other animals. The dioxins get concentrated and stored in animal fat. People are exposed to them mostly from eating meat and fish rich in fat.

While dioxins are extremely toxic, there are no dioxins in plastics.

A Testimony before the Maryland House Health and Government Operations Committee:

HB 56: Phthalates and Bisphenol-A – Prohibitions – Toys and Child Care Articles



About Heather

My name is Heather Ferris. I am the founder and creator of Nurture Nature Project! I believe together we can re-imagine the future and re-create systems to support the sustainable regeneration of healthy life on our planet. Listening to your own heart and living from your inner truth is the first step to building a better world. Every person has something important to offer.


One thought on “Easy Way to Avoid Bad Plastics and the Research to Remind You Why

  1. If you’re interested in alot of PVC shower curtains are in people’s homes and their dangerous. To learn more read http://www.newrinkles.com/index.php/archive/safety-alert-shower-curtains/

    Posted by gerilwalton | November 15, 2008, 1:59 am

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