This article is mainly about the dangers of plastics to the health of you and your family.
No plastic bottles or containers are safe! It doesn't matter whether it be store-bought plastic bottles of water, or reusable bottles that you carry around, or those the kids take to school or which you keep in the car. They ALL contain toxic chemicals which have been proven in research to leach chemicals into the water or foods they contain. It also doesn't matter if the plastic is "BPA-free", PET, Tupperware or anything. They all leach chemicals into the water or food, and 50 times more so when they are hot, which is just one reason why you should never use plastic containers in the microwave oven, or to store hot foods...
The chemicals which leach from plastic containers include hormone-disrupting chemicals and cancer-causing chemicals. Plastics contain chemicals like phthalates which mimic the female hormone oestrogen, and are therefore called xeno-oestrogens. Pregnant women and children are the most vulnerable to phthalates and other hormone-disrupting chemicals, according to research. These oestrogen-mimicing chemicals interfere with your evenly-balanced oestrogen levels to cause a wide range of symptoms and health issues, such as birth defects, male infertility or prostate cancer, early puberty in girls as young as 7 years, PMS symptoms or an irregular cycle in adult females, and other conditions. Other chemicals in plastics have also been shown in research to cause cancers. So you don't want these chemicals in your water, food or on your skin where they can be absorbed to cause these health issues!
If you can try this experiment - put a plastic bottle 1/2 filled with water in your car and leave it there all day in the sun. Then take off the lid and smell the water - it will smell a lot of chemicals. DON'T drink it! In fact, once a plastic bottle has been left in a hot car or in the sun, it should be thrown away. And yes this applies to refillable water bottles which children take to school for the same reason - they get hot in summer and leach chemicals which can affect their health.
There was a problem with BPA plastic a few years ago, proven to disrupt hormones and cause cancer, then this was replaced by "BPA-free" or "BPS" plastic... which sure enough after a few years, was shown to have exactly the same issue. No plastic bottles or containers are safe for hot foods or hot conditions. BUT, it has been shown that freezing water or foods in plastic containers has a similar leaching effect.
Other plastic items which you may not have thought of being a major health hazard include:
- Plastic cooking utensils - replace with stainless steel
- Plastic kettles - replace with stainless steel
- Tinned vegetables, especially tinned tomatoes (as the tin liner is BPA plastic to stop the acidic tomatoes from eating away at the metal tin) - replace with FRESH tomatoes and vegies
- Plastic wrap in contact with your food
- Frozen "ready meals" in so-called "microwave or oven safe" plastic containers - remove the meal from the plastic and put into a glass container or stainless steel saucepan to heat up
- There are plasticiser chemicals like phthalates found in cosmetics, hair care, body washes, fragrances and perfumes, household cleaning products and vinyl products in flooring and your car - use natural alternatives, and check the ingredients!
- Thermal receipts from shops.
You may not be able to completely avoid all plastic products, but you can be more aware and find replacement products for most of these to reduce your risk of health issues.