By: Dr. Ciro Errico.
Plastic is everywhere in the environment and society. We can find it in our Tupperware, water bottles, baby bottles, food and drinks. Most plastics have numbers (which are listed with the appropriate name) as an ID to let recyclers know how to properly recycle the product. I say stay away from all plastics, but that is incredibly hard to do since almost everything in our society has some form of plastic in it. So, I will tell you the top three plastics to avoid.
Bisphenol A (BPA), or number 7, is a compound found in plastics that is very dangerous. How is it dangerous? When it is warmed, whether from microwave or from leaving a bottle in a car all day, BPA leaks into the food or into the drink and as a result can mimic estrogen. Estrogen is a hormone that is found more in women than men. It gives women their feminine qualities, but when too much estrogen is in the body it has its side effects. Now, when BPA is leaked into the body it can cause more men to have female features. BPA mimicking estrogen can also cause the body to recognize more estrogen in the body and as a result cause an increase in breast cancer cell growth resulting in a higher percent of breast cancer. This also affects the male population, not only can men have breast cancer, but mimicking estrogen in males also leads to a decrease in the sperm count and an increase in prostate cancer.
Due to recent studies, European countries and Canada have banned products made with BPA, and more importantly, banned BPA in baby bottles. Today’s babies are tomorrow’s future, why harm our future? The US has not banned BPA yet, so beware.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or number 3, is another bad plastic; the same material that is used to make your garden hose is also used in squeezable bottles, female cosmetics, teething rings, and shower curtains. What does PVC contain that makes it dangerous? Phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals used to soften hard plastics like PVC to allow it to become more usable. In making these plastic more usable there have been studies showing, again, that it can mimic estrogen. In a study in the Scientific American, Phthalates that were in cosmetics and fragrances have been shown to increase rates of diabetes in women. Is eye shadow really that necessary when it can cause diabetes? Make sure your cosmetics are PVC free.
Another bad plastic is Polystyrene, or number 6. This material is often found as foam material: Styrofoam, or any packaging that we find at the grocery stores. This material is also found in coffee cups, and most people like their coffee hot, causing the breakdown of the polystyrene, and allowing more to leak into the coffee and end up in the body. This plastic is a known carcinogen (something that can cause cancer), and a neurotoxin (something that can cause toxicity to the nerves). One of the main ingredients in polystyrene foam is benzene, which is predominantly found in gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Though, a person may not smoke or ingest gasoline, the amount that can be found in the body can have a similar effect in the body as if a person where to ingest gasoline or inhale cigarette smoke. FYI: Benzene is also passed through breast feeding, so young babies may have benzene in their bodies at an early age.
Why is this important for Health Care Providers to know?
The better question that I propose is “Why aren’t Health Care Providers discussing this?”
Being a health care provider is a great responsibility, and to care about a person’s life, body and state of health should be enough for anyone to want to learn about what dangers can be found in everyday society or the environment. It is important to understand how these plastics, and the chemicals that can leak from plastic into the body. These plastics affect us so much it may reach the point where no medicine or natural remedies may help if the body is receiving a constant dose of chemicals from a source that is commonly used and missed as a danger. Plastics have become so natural in our society and environment that we cannot escape it, but by educating ourselves to stay away from certain ones, the body, and health of the population may have a chance to outlive the side effects that are associated with plastics.
A few alternatives to plastics are:
1. Glass: glass Tupperware, or glass bottles can be washed and re-used a number of times without the worry of having anything leak into the food or beverage whether a food or beverage is heated directly in it.
2. Stainless Steel: this provides protection, because steel cannot leak into the food or beverage. This also can be washed and re-used a number of times with having to worry about it leaking.
3. Ceramic: is great because it comes in a number of colors and styles to match kitchenware, and it does not leak anything into the food or beverage.
4. Wood or Bamboo: can be found as another alternative for kitchenware like chopping blocks or for salad bowls.
Dr. Ciro is a Doctor at Chiropractic Sports Institute, in Westlake Village, Ca. For more info go to their website: www.gotcsi.com