by Elisa Adams
Sit anywhere in your home or car and count the number of items made from plastic. With few exceptions, these products have a limited lifespan, are non-biodegradable, and were not even available
a century ago. As we move into the second century of the Plastic Age, what choices can we make that will honor our earth and its
Creator and that will safeguard our loved ones’ health as well?
The replacement of traditional forms of packaging,
such as glass and paper, with plastic has raised questions regarding the safety of these petrochemical items, particularly when it comes to soft, flexible plastics known as thermoplastics. This includes fabrics
such as polyester and nylon as well as polystyrene (Styrofoam) and Teflon.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) currently wins the award for Most Dangerous Plastic.
This ubiquitous plastic appears in many forms, from water pipes to beach balls, but perhaps has its most lethal consequence when it appears as cling wrap. PVC molecules are known carcinogens that affect workers at factories where
these products are made. It impacts the liver and is linked to birth defects and hormone mis-messaging, the inaccurate translation of hormonal messages by imitating or blocking normal hormone communication.
PVC, leached from wrap into foods and drinks, may be one of the common initiators of breast and prostate cancer, both highly common in the last half of the first Plastic Century. With a little heat and a little fat from mayonnaise, your body can be introduced to hormone-like molecules it was
never designed to deal with.
The bottom of every plastic
container has a recycling number, from 1 to 7, that identifies each type of plastic.
The numbers that present no known health risks are:
(PET or PETE, polyethylene
(HDPE, high-density polyethylene)
(LDPE, low-density polyethylene)
The dangerous numbers are:
3 (PVC, polyvinyl chloride), often used in wrappings for meats and cheese. Ann Louise Gittleman warns, “Don’t use cling wrap.
. . . I know it’s convenient and ubiquitous . . . but that particular type of plastic will only encourage toxins to migrate from the plastic right into your food.”
6 (PS, polystyrene), more commonly referred to as
Styrofoam, used in coffee cups and plastic cutlery. Its component molecules leach into fatty foods, to fool your body into thinking they're hormones.
7 (PC, polycarbonate),
which is fairly safe when cool, but when heated releases BPA (bisphenol-A), a hormone disrupter that imitates the female hormone estradiol, linked with breast and ovarian cancers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found BPA present in the urine of 95 percent of all Americans tested.
These fake estrogens, known as xenoestrogens, are found in plastic, meat, soap, pesticide-coated fruits and vegetables, car exhaust, your “new car” smell, carpeting, paneling, and new furniture, including bedding. They have hit the news recently as one of the causes for “estrogen dominance” – a symptom of which is the tendency to gain weight, unrelated to diet.
We are not only the plastic capital of the world, we are the cancer and
obesity capital of the world as well. Is this a lifestyle that we really want to export to other countries?
Six Steps to a Safer Lifestyle
Use recycled #1 and #2 packaging. 90% of all health food products use these two forms.
Buy in bulk and take your own cloth and glass containers with you when you shop.
Throw away old plastic containers and start using glass ones instead.
Use waxed paper rather than plastic wrap to store food.
If you choose to microwave, use ceramic or glass to heat and reheat your food products.
Throw away all baby bottles imprinted with the #7 recycling code!
Good health to you!
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