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Plastic, Not-So Fantastic….!

By Anne Laing:

On any given day in the City….

Many people start the day by scooping their processed cereals from a plastic bag into a plastic bowl, and soak it with milk poured from a plastic container.

They then follow up by squeezing toothpaste from a plastic tube onto a plastic toothbrush, and scrubbing it around their mouth.

The morning coffee on the way to work is sucked through a plastic lid.

Lunch may be a salad from a plastic container eaten with a plastic fork, or plastic-wrapped sandwiches, washed down with spring water from a plastic bottle.

A quick pick-me-up soda mid-afternoon is slurped from a plastic bottle, or siphoned from a plastic-lined can through a plastic straw!

After working all day on a plastic computer keyboard and squeezing soap from a plastic dispenser to wash their hands, they come home and microwave a ready-meal in its plastic tray and plastic covering. Or alternatively heat some soup or rice in it’s very own plastic pouch.

Not to mention our grocery purchases (including organic!), which come wrapped in, or contained in, ever increasing amounts of plastic!

Here’s the thing – plastics are made from petro-chemicals, which are highly toxic. You shouldn’t be putting them in your mouth, near your food, or on your skin.

…and the GOOD news is…?

Well, on the “up”-side, toxin levels do drop quickly when eating habits are changed…

This is good news for those who feel helpless to protect themselves and their children from the chemical contamination that now seems to be affecting our hormones from conception to the grave.

A new study shows clearly that changing how we eat not only reduces our toxic burden, but does so very quickly.

In the study published in the March 2011 Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, the Silent Spring Institute teamed up with The Breast Cancer Fund to measure levels of serum (blood) Bis-phenol-A (BPA) and Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DHEP) levels in participants.

(Both are hormone-disrupting chemicals found in petro-chemicals and many plastics, and especially in canned foods and food packaging.)

Bisphenol A is potentially hazardous because it mimics elevated female oestrogen hormones (there are three in all), which sets the scene for many cancers.

When participants in the study eliminated canned, microwave or plastic-packaged foods from their diets, BPA levels and DEHP levels immediately dropped by as much as 55%.

This is an encouraging change, and makes it well worthwhile switching to choose foods that are free from plastic as soon as you can.

Although not measured in this study, phthlalates are another hormone-disrupting chemical found in food packaging.

Remember… “microwave safe,” that means it’s safe for the microwave and safe for the container, but not necessarily safe for your health!!

I have just arrived back from New Zealand, where the government has left the food industry to happily regulate itself for decades… From I’ve observed it has become the land of the plastic food wrapping and, comparing scarily similar increases in breast and prostate cancer rates, this has definitely has not worked out better for national health!

Yes, it’s all down to costs, but I wonder when food producers will finally acknowledge the potential impact of plastic packaging on our health, and their role and responsibility in helping, or harming, it.

These products keep making the health news, and mass blood sample studies now clearly show that we are all exposed.

There is no quick easy answer to environmental toxicity except to be as aware and educated as you can.

Never forget: Your health is your most important asset, and you have to take responsibility and control of everything you put in, on or near your own body.