by: Leslie Jones
Eight glasses of water a day? In today’s fast-paced society, how often are we near a glass and a kitchen faucet? The obvious answer to being able to drink this much water a day is, of course, is the ever-popular water bottle. It is estimated that, “every 27 hours Americans consume enough bottled water to circle the entire equator with plastic bottles stacked end to end. In just a single week, those bottles would stretch more than halfway to the moon — 155,400 miles.”*
If we really sat and pondered all of the products we use every day containing plastic, we would be astonished to find out that it’s a far shorter list of thing that do not contain any plastic material. Plastic, in itself, has so many benefits. Lowered production costs, lighter weight, ease of portability are just a few. But what about the drawbacks of so much plastic in our environment?
“Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a weak synthetic estrogen found in many rigid plastic products...Its estrogen-like activity makes it a hormone disruptor, like many other chemicals in plastics. Hormone disruptors can affect how estrogen and other hormones act in the body, by blocking them or mimicking them, which throws off the body's hormonal balance. BPA also seems to affect brain development in the womb. In 2011, a study found that pregnant women with high levels of BPA in their urine were more likely to have daughters who showed signs of hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression.
While it's likely impossible to completely avoid all plastic products, try to use as little plastic as possible, especially if you're pregnant, and never use it around food. We also recommend that plastic bottles and containers be recycled instead of reused for food or drinks.
To reduce your exposure to BPA:
- Carry your own glass, steel, or ceramic water bottle filled with filtered tap water.
- Reduce how much canned food you eat and how much canned formula your baby uses.
- Use baby bottles with labels that say "BPA free."
- Avoid handling carbonless copy cash register receipts. If you get a carbonless receipt, don't recycle it. Recycling receipts with BPA in them can spread the BPA to other products made with recycled paper, including napkins and toilet paper.
- Look closely at plastics with a number 7 recycling symbol on the bottom. If the plastic doesn't also say "PLA" or have a leaf symbol on it, it may contain BPA. See the chart below for more information on plastic types.
To reduce your exposure to other chemicals in plastics:
- Don't cook food in plastic containers or use roasting/steaming bags; the plastic residues may leach into food when heated in a regular or microwave oven.
- Use glass, porcelain, enamel-covered metal, or stainless steel pots, pans, and containers for food and beverages whenever possible, especially if the food or drink is hot.
- Plastics with recycling symbol 2, 4, and 5 are generally considered OK to use. Plastics with recycling symbol 7 are OK to use as long as they also say "PLA" or have a leaf symbol on them. The recycling symbol number is the code that shows what type of plastic was used to make the product.
- Recycling symbol 1 is also OK to use, but shouldn't be used more than once (no refilling those store-bought water bottles!). Keep all plastic containers out of the heat and sun.”***
Although health officials do not recommend the reuse of #1 plastic containers, they are “not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or disrupting hormones.”****
If it’s a stylish, convenient, and cost effective alternative to continuously buying water bottles that you are looking for, www.reuseit.com has a wide selection of safe, reusable containers for you to choose from.
Get acquainted with PETE. Once we are properly informed of the safety concerns associated with some plastic materials and the inherent hazards within, we can make a conscious effort to eliminate unnecessary BPA from our environment.