Today, plastics are everywhere. From the food we eat to the water we drink, it is hard to get away from the toxic substance. Plastics are in food and beverage containers, disposable plates and toiletry bottles. Plastics are everywhere.
Research suggests that plastics may leach chemicals if they’re scratched or heated. Research also strongly suggests that at certain exposure levels, some of the chemicals in these products, such as bisphenol A (BPA), may cause cancer in people.
BPA is a weak synthetic estrogen found in many rigid plastic products, food and formula can linings, dental sealants, and on the shiny side of paper cashier receipts (to stabilize the ink). 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 the
m, which throws off the body’s hormonal balance. Because estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer develop and grow, many women choose to limit their exposure to these chemicals that can act like estrogen.
Where does plastic exposure come from?
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 glass or stainless steel baby bottles
• 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.
What you can do 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.