Thursday, March 3, 2011

BpA - More Than Baby Bottles...

I admit it. Sometimes I hear a news story and I'm just happy that it's about something I don't have to worry about. With all the hubbub about plastic baby bottles these past few years, I've been relieved that my kids were past that stage. Did they use plastic baby bottles? Sure, but that was in the past and worrying now won't change anything.

Colourful Plastic BowlsImage by Sameer Karmarkar via Flickr

A recent article I wrote about plastics made me stop and think though. While it may still be legal in our country to make food containers and chewable toys out of plastic, it is not in many countries and the science is starting to back that up. Check out Bad Plastics for more info on why you don't want the toxic chemicals like bisphenol A (BpA), PVC, and phthalates getting into your system. BpA is an endocrine disrupter and the health concerns are wide-ranging - including cancer, infertility, and diabetes.

While my kids might not be using plastic baby bottles, they do still drink out of plastic cups most of the time. Why? I don't know... habit, I guess. They've always been the ones stored on the low shelf that they can reach. I did stop microwaving with plastic several years ago (stop if you are!) because I knew heating plastic increased the potential for those chemicals to leach into the food, but my kids definitely used plastic cups.

Not anymore! I threw away all the plastic cups and bowls - and then moved up to the bathroom and tossed the rubber duckies sitting in the corner of the bathtub. By the way, those rubber duckies are actually all made out of plastic. No one said anything so I guess they weren't even missed.

If you're still using plastic in your home for eating (or chewing in the case of toddler toys), you may want to think again. Think about whether you really need that item to be plastic. Glass, ceramics, and tin are good alternatives, depending on the need. Toss what you don't need - some people say donate it, but I figure there's no need to foist my chemical-laden products on others. If you do need purchase plastic items, shop wisely and look for products free of BpA, PVC, and phthlates.

Are there good plastics? Well, some don't seem to be as toxic as the ones I've mentioned above, but my view is that you just shouldn't be eating or drinking out of them at all. The recycling numbers on the bottom can tell you something - #2, #4, and #5 are generally consider safer, and this is what you will typically find milk jugs, plastic bags, and yogurt tubs are made of. If there isn't a number, you can assume it probably isn't one of those.

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