Plastic is Bad for Your Health

The Plastic Danger

Several years ago a very dangerous chemical  that was making its way into our bodies and environment started to get a lot of attention. For 40 years, BPA, (Bisphenol A) has been used in the  production of plastics and the coatings of drink and food cans. It is also used in the manufacturing of dental fillings, medical and dental equipment, household electronics, sports equipment and eyeglasses. BPA leaks out of plastic and cans and into our bodies.  It is not just our bodies that are affected, when plastic ends up in our environment, in either the water or on land, it affects all living creatures.

BPA is an “endocrine disruptor”.  An endocrine disruptor interferes with the production and function of our natural hormones. BPA  behaves in a similar manner to estrogen and other hormones but it is destructive to our health.  It is particularly harmful to babies and children.

Studies have linked BPA to reproductive issues, heart disease, diabetes, male impotence, breast cancer, asthma, decreased brain function (memory, learning) and other conditions.

Though the FDA’s position had always been that certain levels of BPA were safe, in 2010 they modified their position to allow for some concerns and banned BPA from baby bottles and children’s cups.

Is BPA-Free Plastic Safer?

The news is not good. According to tests done in California by Oakland’s Center for Environmental Health, some cups labeled BPA-free contained other chemicals that were equally, or more dangerous, than BPA.

These alternative chemicals acted in a similar manner to BPA and had a disruptive effect on the body’s natural hormones. Researches at the Oakland Center had 35 toddler drinking cups tested that were labeled BPA-free. Nine of the cups had significant amounts of estrogen-like activity and seven had even higher activity levels than BPA plastic.

Parents Should Be Concerned

While the chemicals in plastics are a concern for everyone’s health, parents of small children and babies should be particularly wary. It is not easy to live in our society without using plastic anymore. But if you are a parent, or just someone concerned with your health, it may be time to look for alternatives. Going back to a pre-plastic era may not be such a bad idea. For thousands of years people lived without using plastic. Our bodies and our environment will be a better place without it.

To your Health!

Peter Gillham