Five Reasons to Avoid Plastic Containers

By Joshua Corn

Guest writer for Wake Up World

The great American novelist Norman Mailer once said,  “I sometimes think that there is a malign force loose in the universe that is the social equivalent of cancer, and it’s  plastic. It infiltrates everything. It’s metastasis. It gets into every single pore of productive life.”  You would think this was a recent quote, something he might have said after the green movement became popular. But no – he said this in 1983, before America’s obsession with everything plastic was even close to reaching its peak. What amazing foresight he had.

Plastic has its role in modern society. It’s an essential part of our cars, computers, mobile phones, children’s toys – and practically most everything we use on a day-to-day basis. But there’s one place where plastic has worn out its welcome – and that’s as a container for the food we eat and the water we drink.

The bottom line is that plastic is made from toxic materials. It’s a known fact that these toxins can leach into whatever they come into contact with. And it’s a known fact that when the compounds that make up plastic are ingested, they damage your body on a cellular level and cause health problems.

The pundits will say that the human body can easily handle the “small” amounts (which the government insultingly likes to call “acceptably safe levels”) of toxins that are ingested from plastic. But I find this excuse to be one of the world’s biggest cop-outs. If the human body wasn’t designed to ingest plastic, then no amount is good. Period.

Here are 5 reasons why you should avoid plastic containers:

1.  Toxic compounds in plastic can make you really sick.

It’s typical to suffer from a variety of health problems as you age. But is this just “part of getting older”? Or is this perhaps the result of a toxic overload in the body? It’s common knowledge that illness and disorders such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease, vision impairment and many others health problems are all on the rise.  Could this be in some way associated with the increasing amount of plastic in our lives? Plastic food and beverage containers became popular fairly recently (in the 1970s) and have become ubiquitous in our lives since then. More and more research is proving that toxic compounds found in plastic cause health problems ranging from cancer to infertility.

2. There’s no such thing as a safe plastic.

Plastics that contain the super toxic compound  bisphenol A  (BPA) have been in the news a lot lately. And for this reason, consumers have been duped into thinking that if a product is “BPA-free” it’s perfectly safe. But  this is a lie. Lots of companies have caught on to the fact that they can sell more of a product if it’s labeled as “BPA-free.” But guess what? It may be BPA-free, but in its place, these companies are  using BPS, a close cousin of BPA that may be equally as toxic! The bottom line is – you can’t 100% trust that any plastic doesn’t contain compounds that are toxic to your body.

3.  Plastics can cause fertility and reproductive problems.

The ability to produce a healthy child is a wondrous miracle and an amazing event in one’s life. But toxic compounds found in plastic could be making this difficult, if not impossible, for millions of people. What was once speculation is now becoming fact as more and more research is proving that this is a very real problem. For example, almost all plastics contain  toxic chemicals  that have a negative effect on immunity and hormone regulation, both of which directly affect fertility. Specifically, BPA has been found to make it more difficult for women to conceive and to cause increased risk of miscarriages. New research is also showing that toxins found in plastic can cause birth defects and developmental problems in children.

4.  Chemicals in plastic can make you fat.

There are lots of reasons why nearly two-thirds of  American  adults are either  overweight  or obese. But one of them may be the vast amounts of plastics our food and beverages come in contact with. After all, America is the world’s largest consumer of disposable plastic containers. Interesting new research published in  Environmental Health Perspectives  explains that a chemical widely used in plastics, called bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (BADGE), may actually  cause stem cells to become fat cells. According to one of the study’s authors, “Exposure to these kinds of chemicals can reprogram your metabolism and make it more likely for you to store calories instead of passing them through.” Have you found that losing weight is next to impossible, despite eating less and exercising more? Perhaps it’s chemicals in plastics that make losing weight harder than it needs to be.

5.  Plastics are just terrible for our planet.

Whether you are a hardcore environmentalist or if being “green” is low on your list of priorities, the fact of the matter is that you live on planet Earth, and so will your children and your children’s children. We all have a responsibility to keep the planet has livable as possible. Firstly, plastics are in most cases made from petrochemicals through an energy intensive process that itself creates lots of pollution and toxic discharge. The fact is, every plastic container you use is making the planet less habitable. Also, most plastic in the world is not recycled and usually ends up in landfills, where it degrades very slowly.  According to Wikipedia, “Since the 1950s, one billion tons of plastic have been discarded and may persist for hundreds or even thousands of years.”

What Are Your Best Solutions?

Like I said earlier, plastics are a nearly unavoidable part of our everyday lives. But there is a big difference between the plastic on your computer and the plastic that may come into contact with your lunch. You don’t eat your computer. The best solution, which is affordable, convenient and really safe is glass and certain types of metal. Here are some great solutions I’ve found. (I am providing links to Amazon.com for your convenience, but you can find these items at many stores.)

  • Break-proof glass water bottles:  This  glass water bottle  has a rubber coating that prevents breakage. It makes water taste amazing! I take mine everywhere I go and it helps me avoid using plastic water bottles.
  • Stainless steel straws:  My kids don’t use plastic straws anymore, and instead use these  stainless steel straws.
  • Stainless steel containers:  Dump your plastic Tupperware and instead go for  stainless steel containers. Glass containers are great too, but most of them still have plastic lids.
  • Glass water coolers:  If you have a water cooler at your home or office, more and more companies are offering  glass containers  instead of plastic ones.
  • Alternative to non-stick cookware:  The coating on your non-stick cookware may be a type of plastic. Instead choose  ceramic cookware  or  enameled cast iron.

Sneaky Sources of BPA

Even if you remove all plastic from your food and water supply, there are still some sneaky ways that highly toxic BPA can find its way into your life. Here are the most common:

  • Cash register receipts: This usually shocks most people. But if you handle a receipt with your hands, then eat your food with your hands, BPA is getting in your system. Avoid receipts or wash your hands immediately after touching one.
  • The lining of most canned foods. Luckily, we’ve written a  buyer’s guide  that will help you find the brands that don’t use BPA.
  • Some baby bottles and pacifiers
  • Many toys and other children’s products
  • Some aluminum water bottles (stainless steel is generally safe)
  • Canned soda and beer

You can  click here  to read my appeal to the U.S Government to ban BPA now!

Sources:

environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/2012/05/2012-0605-bpa-brain-cancer-meningioma

anh-usa.org/is-bpa-free-a-lie

blogs.webmd.com/health-ehome/2012/04/pvc-unhealthy-for-our-childrens-health-and-schools

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride

cnbc.com

fastcoexist.com/1679908/chemicals-arent-why-youre-fat-but-theyre-making-you-fatter

natural-fertility-info.com/plastic-infertility

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic

1800recycling.com/2011/03/history-plastic-bottles-recycle

About the Author

Josh CornJoshua Corn is the Editor-in-Chief of the natural health and wellness site, Live in the Now. Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of SAN, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, yoga practitioner, animal lover and father of two sons who remind him every day to “live in the now”.

 

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  • http://Website M

    You for got to mention Bamboo Utensils!!! like soon, fork and knife.

  • http://Website Bella

    Do you have any recommendations for replacing ziploc bags when it comes to sandwishes? That’s my toughest package to replace because the bag gets wet from vegetables or sticky from nut butter. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  • http://www.gesundernaehren.net Kathy

    What a great and at the same ashtonishing article! Once you start questioning you will discover more and more lies. That is one of the big ones. We are surrounded by plastic everywhere we go. Thanks for this wonderful article.

  • http://Website ann holliday

    very interesting.

  • http://Website norman

    Thanks fot the article. Good to know and I do believe these are issues of concern.

    I would like to see specific resources cited in the articles here at WOW. Given the myriad hazards present in everyday life, I really need the background information to prioritize my actions. For example: yes, plastics bring associated health and environmental concerns, what are the implications of stainless steel production? Also, what about the water that supplies my home yet must travel through thousands of feet of PVC and CPVC pipe before reaching the tap? What are the environmental cost of buying, transporting and storing water from alternative sources? Before I run out and replace my entire set of food storage containers what are the real and proven risks and liklihood of adverse health effects by not doing so?

    Don’t get me wrong; I am all for minimizing risks where U can, but I think I’m beginning to experience ECO–a term I just coined sitting here (Environmental Correctness Overload)–trying to address each of the pressing issues facing us today.

    So, please, a little less generalization and a liitle more substantaited and valid research referencs will be welcome.

    Thank you.

  • http://Website joanne

    Thanks I don’t need more “proof” and have been avoiding plastic for many years now. This article was a great overview on a deadly serious environmental and health issue

  • http://Website Sheri

    I’m making the move to completely eliminate plastic water bottles from my life, but realized the other biggest source of plastic in my life is my computer keyboard and mouse – and I touch it for about 8 hours a day! Any ideas where I can find a less-toxic mouse and keyboard?

  • http://Website Saydi

    I have been trying to get away fr plastic for a few yrs, but EVERYTHING you buy at the grocery store is wrapped in it, even organics. And plastic leeches into everything. I get spring water fr a local spring and have been trying to figure out how to bring water home without using plastic. Milk cans are too heavy, glass gallon jugs seem to be the only option. When you rinse an old plastic water bottle before filling you can see the oil sheen in the puddle, the bottle can be 6 month old and still leeching into the water. It is disgusting.

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