Avoiding plastics has been advised by many, however it is a very impractical and naive suggestion in this day in age because virtually all products contain it. Even if you buy only organic and shop with an Eco-bag, and store food in glass containers, the just chances are that the produce came in contain with some form of plastic whether it was industrial or the workers wearing plastic gloves who picked them.
Plastics are known for their hazardous BPA content that can alter one’s sex, lower testosterone levels, as well as cause a number of other issues. So, knowing they are rampant in our food and water supply, what can one do? Nearly all bottled liquids are plastic, and food products are packaged similarly. Those stored in glass can be more expensive and it is hard to know whether your fruits and vegetables were in contact with plastics prior to being placed on shelves. Somebody had to bring them to the grocery and chances are they did so while wearing plastic gloves so unless you shop locally from farmer or grow food yourself, you are almost guaranteed to consumer food that has been in contact with plastic even if it was organic by a reputable company.
Dangers of Plastic
Endocrine disruptors (which are now widespread in food, water, soil and even the air we breathe) include a long list of chemicals such as dioxins, cadmium, parabens, bisphenol A, phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), agricultural chemicals, polybrominated flame retardants, and some of the active ingredients in sunscreens.
Many of these chemicals cause problems because they can mimic the action of natural estrogen. This foreign estrogen (also known as xenoestrogen) can upset normal hormonal balance, stimulate the growth and development of reproductive tumors (breast, uterine, prostate), impair fertility, and disrupt pregnancy. Worse, many can cross the placenta to affect the fetus and get into breast milk. Chemicals such as phthalates have an antiandrogenic effect, meaning they interfere with testosterone and other hormones responsible for male sex characteristics. Exposure to these agents during fetal life and early childhood can derail normal sexual development and heighten the risk for diseases that don’t become apparent until adulthood, such as cancer.
One of the most troubling endocrine disruptors is a common ingredient in plastic called bisphenol A (commonly called BPA). According to Laura N. Vandenberg, who holds a doctorate in cell, molecular and developmental biology and works at the Center for Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Tufts University, “BPA is one of the highest volume chemicals produced worldwide, with over 6 billion pounds produced each year.”
Used to produce polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, BPA is found in many drinking containers, the lining of most food and beverage cans (including soda cans), bottle caps, plastic cutlery, plastic food storage containers, toys, dental sealants, some dental composites, water pipes, eyeglass lenses, and more. Polycarbonate is often blended with other plastics to create products such as mobile phone cases, car parts, electronic equipment, medical equipment, and household items. Because BPA is in printer ink, newspapers, and carbon-less receipts, most recycled paper contains it, including paper towels and paper used to contain food.
Rather than worrying about plastic, the less fanatical approach is to simply drive up testosterone levels and bolster your immune system to defend against the dangerous chemicals.
Reduce the exposure to plastic by doing the following:
- Don’t store food in plastic containers
- Shop with a Eco bag like cotton
- Get BPA free water bottles
- Vigorous brief exercise to ramp up testosterone levels to increase resistance to plastics
- Get adequate sleep
Additionally, you can do these two other things:
Don’t heat plastic or leave hot food in plastic containers because they can leech into the food – Many of these microwavable foods are so, you shouldn’t be microwaving to begin with but regardless, don’t do it. Heat in a metal, ceramic, iron, or strong glass container.
Don’t leave your water bottle out in the sun – This was a bad habit of mine. I used to keep water bottles in the cup holder of my car and during hot summer months they would be literally boiled when I returned from school or wherever. The water tasted funny and so you’ll want to avoid doing that. Get a cooler bag and store it in there on hot days so the heat doesn’t activate the BPA’s in plastic.
This along with proper supplementation with vitamins and minerals can guard against the negative effects. Unless you live in the rural suburbs, it’s hard to dodge plastics. If you’re in the city, you definitely need to be proactive about limiting your exposure.