There is a great awareness now about plastic.
People have started replacing plastic with other safer alternatives to store, carry and pack our foods and drinks.
Plastics are handy, they are light, don’t break easily. But there are many reasons we want to avoid plastics as much as we can.
Plastics, especially BPA are linked to cause endocrine / hormonal issues, immunity problems and other major diseases. The environmental chemicals including plastics can contribute to the obesity epidemic.
These toxic effects are scary because you don’t feel it straight away. There are a few studies published, including in the journal Endocrine Disruptor, that even a small amount of BPA can cause health problems.
The chemical BPA mimics hormone, estrogen and have estrogenic effects on the body. Too much of this hormone is linked to a range of diseases from cancer, diabetes, infertility, mental disorders, asthma to obesity.
The companies are aware of this too and we see more plastics that are PBA free. I started choosing BPA free plastic if no other options are suitable. However it seems like that is not enough either.
Recently a lot of studies have been coming out, including an article in Environmental Health Perspective in 2011, reporting the negative effects on PBA free plastics. The researchers tested hundreds of different plastics including BPA free, and detected estrogenic activities in most of them.
In fact about 90 percent of the products leached estrogen- like chemicals before applying any stressors (such as heat, microwave or UV light) and almost 100 percent after exposed to the stressors. On top of that some chemicals used to replace PBA are shown to cause more harm than PBA.
One of the most common PBA replacement is bisphenols S (BPS). It was favoured over PBA as it was thought to be more resistance to leaching. But a research finding BPS in people’s urine (81- 90 percent in American’s) means that it is getting out.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health studied levels of BPS in 75 volunteers who ate 12 onces of soup each day. One group ate canned soup and others ate fresh soup. The group with canned soup raised BPA levels by 1,221 percent.
“The magnitude of the rise in urinary BPA we observed after just one serving of soup was unexpected and may be of concern among individuals who regularly consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages daily, – Karin Michels, senior author of the study
So this BPA is found in many plastic containers and water bottles. Most cans are lined with BPA- containing resin.
BPS is capable of disrupting cellular processes just like PBA. Hyperactivity, endocrine disruption, heart arrhythmia, neurone disorders have all been linked to this compound. (study from the University of calgary, University of Cincinnati)
Austin based company PlastiPure is apparently the first and only (at this time of writing) company that offer EA free (estrogenic activity free) option.
So it is possible!
what we can do as consumers is to express our concerns regarding PBA and PBA free plastic products and pressure companies to look into producing safer products.
Meantime switch plastic to other sources where possible and educate ourselves around the use of plastic
Do not heat plastic in microwave
Do not put foods that are still hot.
Do not put foods that are acidic
Avoid plastic bottle water
Do not use plastic baby bottles or dummies
Do not leave plastic bottles in the sun
In an ideal world I would like to see no plastics but it is not always easy. Do the best we can and educate ourselves with other alternatives.
I don’t want this article to be one sided so I have linked this site, promoting BPA. In my opinion having FDA approval does not mean it is safe to consumers. (A recent study done with FDA and National Institute of Health has been disapproved for the way the study was conducted, possibly to cover up the real health effects – without proper control, ignoring effects on human hormones in a long term)