My journey started when I learned microwaving plastic containers and storing food in plastic can leach chemicals into food. From that day on I quit putting plastic in the microwave and even today I never do. Over time I’ve replaced all of the plastic containers in our kitchen with glass. I have a few simple rules you can easily use to reduce exposure to plastic chemicals in your food.
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Why Plastic Can Cause Harm
- Plastic often contains Phthalates
- This is a chemical compound added to make plastic more flexible.
- Because they’re not “bound” to the plastic, phthalates break off to contaminate our food or drink
- Both the Department of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have reports on phthalates .
- The health effects from exposure are currently unknown BUT A Harvard study on mice has found that micro-plastics accumulate in the liver, kidneys and intestines and causes stress for those organs.
- BPA is another concerning compound
- BPA is an endocrine disruptor and messes with our hormones. Hormones are like little messengers in our bodies that work together to regulate different organs and systems.
- Researchers note that BPS is similar to BPA so you can’t always trust a “BPA Free” label.
- Plastic is not biodegradable.
- It degrades into micro plastics which cause harm to the oceans and the environment.
- New research suggests we don’t know the harm of plastic once it becomes the size of nano-particles and can float around in our bodies with our cells.
Related: How Plastic Baby Bottles Affect YOUR Grandchildren
American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations
In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that some common food additives like plastic may pose a health risk to children and came out with a list of recommendations to limit exposure.
- Buy and serve more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, and fewer processed meats.
- Avoid microwaving plastic.
- Use glass or stainless steel food storage containers.
- Avoid plastic with recycle code #3 (Phthalates), #6 (Styrene) or #7 (Bisphenols).
- Wash hands thoroughly before and after touching food and clean all fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled.
My Easy Tips
NEVER put plastic in the microwave. Always transfer food to a glass or ceramic dish before heating.
AVOID putting plastic containers in the dishwasher or subjecting them to heat.
DON’T store hot, acidic or oily foods in plastic. These types of foods are more likely to promote leaching of chemicals.
INVEST in glass storage containers. You don’t need to go out right now and buy expensive glass containers. Wait for sales and coupons or ask for glass containers as a birthday or Christmas present. We use these Pyrex Containers and love them!
DON’T reuse plastic water bottles and old plastic containers. One use plastics are not designed for repeated use, are less durable and more likely to degrade and leach chemicals.
KEEP babies safe and use glass baby bottles. When my kids were little I used these glass baby bottles without any issues.
RECYCLE plastic containers when they get heavily worn and scratched.
AVOID plastic types #3 (Phthalates), #6 (Styrene) or #7 (Bisphenols). (source)
Keep these easy tips in the back of your mind and soon they will just be part of your normal routine.
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