Avoiding Plastic

Ahhh plastic. We live in a plastic coated world. Toys, furniture, storage containers, electronics, food packaging, even surgical supplies can be and are frequently made of plastic. What’s wrong with this? Well, if we are bombarded by a substance that leaches hormone disrupting chemicals…lots. So, should we all flee our homes and go live in the woods Swiss family Robinson style? Mmm that does sound fun, but it’s probably not the answer to this growing problem. We may not be able to avoid plastic entirely, but it is possible to limit our exposure, especially in items that we ingest.

Back in 2009, US News blogged about the hormone disrupting chemicals that leach from plastic water bottles. While, sadly, all drinking water has some amount of hormone disrupting chemicals (from birth control and medications that flow into our water system and aren’t filtered,) the water tested from plastic containers had more than twice the amount! Knowing that these thin plastic bottles aren’t even cooled completely before being filled with H2O is even more reason to cut them out. When plastic is heated, leaching occurs at a faster rate.

But, plastic isn’t just found in water bottles, now is it? Most food and beverage items can be found in plastic. So, everyone should just switch to canned foods and drinks, right?
Maybe not… studies show that most cans used in canned foods like beans, vegetables, pasta, sauces, soups, sodas, and even infant formula…have a thin plastic lining inside the can. Ugghh!You just can’t win!

Speaking of infants...why are so many baby toys made of plastic? If you’ve ever seen a baby with anything in his or her hands, where does it do immediately after? Yep, the mouth. When did wood and rubber get the axe? There are wonderful companies still making natural baby toys, so it may be a good idea to keep it “old school” in this department.

Bottom line: choose your products wisely. What goes into your mouth (or your baby’s mouth) should be plastic free whenever possible. We are back to the “whole foods” method. Eat whole foods, and learn to cook (or have someone do it for you.) Eat convenience foods only when necessary, and purchase brands that do not use plastic. It’s impossible to avoid plastic entirely, but it can be quite easy to limit plastic where it counts.

Here are some easy tips to help you limit plastic leaching:

Invest in a glass or metal water canteen and refill with purified water.

Choose canned goods wisely. These articles here and here list some great brands that do not use plastic lining in their canned goods (and several of them can be found at Trader Joe’s!)

Purchase food fresh or in glass containers whenever possible.

Never microwave food or drinks in plastic containers.

Switch to glass food storage containers. We have these from amazon and love them!

If you have and infant or toddler, purchase wooden toys instead of plastic – especially when used for teething.

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