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Health Dangers of Plastics

Monday, 15 Dec 2014 01:38 PM

In the iconic graduation party scene in the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” a wealthy businessman takes aside the recent college graduate played by Dustin Hoffman and says he has just one word for him: “Plastics.”
 
He continues, “There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Would you think about it?”
 
Plastics did indeed become pervasive – too much so – and they are increasingly regarded as bad for the environment (clogging up landfills) and bad for your health.
 
Some years ago most people discarded water bottles containing BPA (bisphenol A), a synthetic estrogen that can mimic the hormone estrogen, increasing the risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, and reproductive problems.
 
But now there is evidence that other chemicals in plastic can be just as toxic.
 
Most recently attention has been focused on “K-Cups,” the small single-serving coffee pod requiring a special machine made by Keurig, owned by the Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee.
 
Green Mountain only makes 5 percent of its current cups out of recyclable plastic. The rest of them are made up of a #7 composite plastic, which is non-recyclable in most places, Mother Jones magazine reported.
 
Another reason to look beyond plastic is a concern with what could leach out of the material when heated. The #7 plastic used in K-Cups is BPA-free, but new evidence suggests that even non-BPA plastics can test positive for estrogenic activity.
 
Most plastic products, from sippy cups to food wraps, can release chemicals that act like estrogen, according to a study in Environmental Health Perspectives.
 
The researchers bought more than 450 plastic items designed to come in contact with food – things like baby bottles, deli packaging, water bottles, and flexible bags. The study found these chemicals even in products that didn't contain BPA.
 
When food is wrapped in plastic or placed in a plastic container and microwaved, substances in the plastic may leak into the food.
 
Plastic is ubiquitous, but there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure.
 
If you have a Keurig or similar brand, you could go back to a regular coffee.
 
Here are other things you can do:
 
·         Buy stainless-steel water bottles with plastic-free caps.
·         Avoid water bottled in plastic. Drink tap water or water in glass containers.
·         If you must use a plastic bottle, never leave it in direct sunlight or hot places. Repeated use and heat lead to more leaching.
·         Seekproducts packaged in glass bottles: milk, juice, soda, beer, spices, vegetables, and condiments.
·         Instead of putting produce in the store's tear-off plastic bags, bring your own reusable bags.
·         If you're getting a to-go salad or a meal from the hot buffet, opt for paper containers over plastics.
·         Cover leftovers in tinfoil versus plastic wrap.
·         Replace plastic household appliances, such as coffeemakers and blenders with new ones made of stainless steel.
 
Beth Terry, author of Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, writes on her website (myplasticfreelife.com) that her family doesn’t store vegetables or fruits in plastic. For example, she stores carrots, whole or cut, immersed in glass containers of water. They will stay crisp in the refrigerator for weeks.

© HealthDay

   
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Ronni-Gordon
In the iconic graduation party scene in the 1967 movie "The Graduate," a wealthy businessman takes aside the recent college graduate played by Dustin Hoffman and says he has just one word for him: "Plastics." He continues, "There's a great future in plastics. Think about...
plastics, bpa, health, dangers
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2014-38-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 01:38 PM
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