Friday, March 17, 2017

What Plastics Are Safe?

 I was visiting with my daughter-in-law and she commented that she had changed out all of her drink containers to BPA free ones and felt her family was much safer now. I had just recently done some research into BPA and plastics and had some bad news for her.  I want to share with you, my friends what I found since plastics have come to the forefront of my mind recently. Our daughter was diagnoses with two cases of breast cancer and they are further investigating to see whether she has cancer elsewhere also. Her cancers are estrogen and progesterone fed and a source of imitation hormones is plastics.

 "We know that, "BPA causes hormone disruption, reproduction harm, increased risk of certain cancers, malformation of organs in children, risk of miscarriage, sperm defects, and increased risk of mental disabilities in babies. 93% of 2517 urine samples from people older than six years old showed detectable levels of BPA." A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control  

The research is conclusive in the area of BPA and simply put, it is toxic. But what most don't know is that most companies have replaced BPA with BPS, which is just another bisphenol.

{In the case of BPS, there's reason to believe it is just as dangerous to human health, and possibly more so, than BPA, although the research is not nearly as abundant just yet. Writing in the journal Toxicology In Vitro, researchers stated:ii
"In 2011, the European Commission has restricted the use of Bisphenol A in plastic infant feeding bottles. In a response to this restriction, Bisphenol S is now often used as a component of plastic substitutes for the production of babybottles. One of the major concerns leading to the restriction of Bisphenol A was its weak estrogenic activity. By using two highly standardised transactivation assays, we could demonstrate that the estrogenic activity of Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S is of a comparable potency."
Not only does BPS appear to have similar hormone-mimicking characteristics to BPA, but research suggests it is actually significantly less biodegradable, and more heat-stable and photo-resistant, than BPA. GreenMedInfo reports:
"... while regulators wait for manufacturers who promote their products with "BPA-Free!" stickers at the same moment that they infuse them with BPS to voluntarily reformulate,there isevidence now that BPS may actually have worse effects to environmental and human health, alike..
"... BPS' relative inability to biodegrade indicates: 1) once it is absorbed into the human body, it may accumulate there for longer periods of time. 2) it is more likely to persist in the environment, making external exposures to it, and its many metabolites, much more likely than the faster degrading BPA. In other words, its potential to do harm will worsen along the axis of time, not lessen, which is a common argument made for the purported "safety" of BPA."}}
So what we have here is a switcheroo. One bad guy in exchange for another bad guy probably worse than the first. The whole BPA free campaign has millions of Americans making the switch but are we are no safer than before. Disturbing isn't it?

So once again here is an example of where we have to protect ourselves because no one else is going to do it. But how? How does one tell for sure if they have a BPA containing plastic?
This is what Mayo's says:

{A resin code of 7 appearing on plastic containers indicates that the container may be made of a BPA-containing plastic.  It is a rounded triangle with a seven inside.
Some exploratory scientific studies have appeared in the public literature that have raised questions about the safety of ingesting the low levels of BPA that can migrate into food from food contact materials. To address these questions the National Toxicology Program, partnering with FDA’s NCTR, is carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about BPA

The testing showed that more than 70 percent of the products released chemicals that acted like estrogen. And that was before they exposed the stuff to real-world conditions: simulated sunlight, dishwashing and microwaving, Bittner says.  Then, you greatly increase the probability that you're going to get chemicals having estrogenic activity released," he says, adding that more than 95 percent
of the products tested positive after undergoing this sort of stress.The team concentrated on BPA-free baby bottles and water bottles, Bittner says, "and all of them released chemicals having estrogenic activity." Sometimes the BPA-free products had even more activity than products known to contain BPA.
"We've long cautioned consumers to avoid extreme heat and cooling for plastics, to discard scratched and worn plastics and we feel like this [study] validates one of our many concerns," she says.}

#5 Rubbermaid storage containers. Love these as the lids fit multiple sizes and they stack so nicely. I found the idea of Pinterest to use a tension rod to hold things in place in a drawer. LOVE IT!!

Here is a hint to whether a plastic may contain BPA. Hard plastic containers have a triangle with a number inside. If it is #3 or #7, it probably is made with BPA. Remember that heat, sunlight, or very cold temperatures causes greater release of BPA's in plastic so don't freeze or put plastics in the dishwasher.

The Green Guide, owned by The National Geographic Society devoted to greener living recommends plastics with the numbers #2, #4, and #5. I've just started checking in my own kitchen to see what numbers are lurking in my cupboards.

Another bad guy is Styrofoam.

This is what Green Guide has to say about it:
{Containers made of polystyrene (PS, or plastic #6, also known as Styrofoam) can also be dangerous, as its base component, styrene, has been associated with skin, eye and respiratory irritation, depression, fatigue, compromised kidney function, and central nervous system damage. Take-out restaurant orders often come in polystyrene containers, which also should be emptied into safer containers once you get them home.}

Once again a tension rod used to hold things in place. This idea is especially nice with drink containers.
There is no way to eliminate plastics from our society and why should we? I think a more sensible approach is to limit where and how we use them. The next blog talks a bit more about this and I will show you another place where food manufacturers are hiding BPA. But meanwhile tell me, how many of you were surprised by this information? I sure was.

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