Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thoughts for Thursday


Have you "Gone Green" yet? Well, I started going green about a year ago and have slacked off a bit. We did things like started using the new light bulbs, recycling, unplugging appliances and other items when not in use, bought a new front loader washer & dryer, bought some organic sippy cups, started using sandwich mats instead of plastic bags for sandwiches, and making some of my own cleaning solutions using tea tree oil.
I am sure everyone has heard about the danger of plastics, especially heating food in the microwave in plastic and drinking from plastic water bottles that have sat in the car in the heat. Well, in light of this email I got from a friend yesterday, I am going to further purge my kitchen of plastics. This is enlightening and frightening at the same time!

As Most of you know, I have suffered from migraines for many years. My search for help led me to some testing which shows that I have toxic levels of BPA/Polystyrene in my system. I do not yet know if this is a major contributor but it very likely is. As I am undergoing a fairly dramatic detox right now (just started today), I wanted to know more about how these toxins got there to begin with. The information I have found is frightening!! This is just an example of an article that is easy to read and understand. I can tell you that heated plastic releases the worst toxins (even the plastic splatter proofer that you cover your food with in the microwave). Do not drink from water bottles that have been left in the car or drink coffee out of Styrofoam cups. Please do some research of your own when you have the time. I won't be surprised to see some restrictive laws passed on this matter in the next few years.

The Truth About Plastics
Echo Newspaper, November 2007 Charlottesville, VA
Written By Paige Mattson
If you are like me, you have been having headaches over the research that came out this summer on plastics. The miracle material is no longer the safe substance we all once believed it was. And in fact, it could be harming us.
Now that the researchers have our attention, what should we do about it? Purging your kitchen of all plastics seem s rather drastic, but it’s a step in the right direction. All of my plastic water bottles went straight into the recycling bin. My plastic measuring spoons and cups went with the water bottles. I fortunately didn’t have much else in my kitchen that was plastic. I stopped using the plastic water pitcher I had in my fridge and now use ice to provide me with cold water. And I completely stopped using plastic wrap all together. I also shop differently now. When buying food storage containers, I steer to the safe glass containers.
There are several safer options out there for our water bottles, baby bottles and food storage containers. Many bio-based plastics are emerging onto the market. These use corn, potatoes, rice or a myriad of other natural ingredients to make the plastic rather than using petroleum. Also opting for non-plastic, such as the aluminum SIGG water bottle with their patented anti-microbial inner-lining or a stainless steal bottle for your water. For the youngest members of our family, many people are switching to glass baby bottles or Bisphenol-A (BPA) free plastic bottles. The brand Born Free was one of the first baby companies on the market with a safe plastic baby bottle and children’s drinking cups. SIGG makes a safe children’s ‘sippy’ cup too. Also choosing cloth teethers rather than plastics are a safer alternative. And don’t forget about Fido! Choose ceramic food and water dishes for our furry friends.
This summer, government-funded and industry-funded studies (including the EPA) released information on testing they each did on plastics; specifically which types of plastics are leaching toxins into our foods and beverages. The results were staggering. The types of plastics shown to leach toxic chemicals are polycarbonate, PVC, and styrene. My non-breakable, highly-durable plastic water bottle has been secretly leaching Bisphenol-A or BPA into my body over time. Water bottles aren’t the only issue. Baby bottles, Tupperware, ‘sippy’ cups, cling wrap, large water cooler jugs, essentially most of the plastics our food and liquids come into contact with each day.
Plastics with numbers 3, 6 and 7 are all culprits. Over time and use, including dish washing, heating, scratches and general wear, the plastic breaks down and releases toxic chemicals including BPA, diadipate (DEHA) and styrene. When in contact with liquids, sauces, fatty greases, etc., and more so when heated, the toxins leaches into the food or liquid and we ingest it.
The newest information was on the polycarbonate plastics (#7). Polycarbonate plastics have been found to leach BPA. Once in our bodies, BPA mimics the action of the human hormone estrogen. This is extremely dangerous as BPA has been found to stimulate prostate cancer cells and causes breast tissue changes that resemble early stages of breast cancer. One study even found an association between ovarian dysfunction and higher levels of BPA in urine.
The research didn’t stop there either. Results found that early-life exposure to BPA can cause genetic damage and can lead to spontaneous miscarriages and birth defects. Of the 115 published animal studies, a majority (81%) found significant effects from even low-level exposure to BPA.
DEHA, which can be found in plastic cling wraps (#3), is leached when heated and comes in contact with foods or oils. DEHA exposure was linked to negative effects on the liver, kidney, spleen, bone formation and body weight. And styrene, which leaches from polystyrene plastic (#6), is toxic to the brain and nervous system. Styrene leaches from food containers, but also can be inhaled through off gassing of certain plastics in building materials.
These results can be overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. Once I made the move away from plastics, the alternatives seemed to jump out at me. I can bring my own take-home containers to restaurants that ensure my leftovers are toxin free, I carry my own safe water bottle to ensure I’m always drinking clean water, and I use glass storage containers at home.
It is tough to keep up with the industry and the new reports that come out. All of these safer alternatives, as well as more information on plastics, can be found in Charlottesville at the Blue Ridge Eco Shop located in the Preston Plaza. It’s their job to stay on top of the research and they provide, not only safe products, but up-to-date information on the industry and the health effects of products.
Resources: - Integrated Risk System
Institute of Medicine. “Dioxins and Dioxin-like Compounds in the Food Supply.” National Academies Press
Environmental Health Perspectives
The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy


Jenn said...

I have pretty much got rid of all the plastics in my kitchen (I THOUGHT).. after reading this article I will now get rid of my plastic measuring spoons - didn't even THINK about those and plastic wrap!

I never thought about the link it could have to Headaches! I just called my Mom and told her we are getting rid of her plastics this weekend if she likes it or not!

AngiDe- Nana's Box said...

Hey! Just wanted to check in and see if Paula got her box?

BTW, just LOVE your new look!!!


Roxanne said...

how do you like the sandwich mats? I almost bought some. is it lined with some kind of vinyl or plastic???

bookieboo said...

Hey Heather, check out this blog.

I've been reading this guy's book and it goes over alot of what we put in our mouths that clogs us up with toxins, etc. It's great!

My mom suffered from migraines for as long as I can remember. So I totally hear you!

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