From the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to Endocrine Disruption.
We’ve all seen the shocking images of giant plastic islands in the oceans and plastics of all types littering beaches, and strangling sea life. It’s been clear for some time that the excess use of plastics is one of the most pressing environmental challenges we face. Less well known, but equally true is the damage that plastics can cause to our health. The dangers start with endocrine disruption.
What is endocrine disruption and why do I care?
Endocrine disruption is a phenomenon that occurs when a man-made or natural compound interferes with normal hormone function in human body systems. Endocrine disruption can affect growth, reproduction and the regulation of metabolic function – meaning it can lead to early puberty, early menopause, fertility issues and severe metabolic imbalances. Hormones are responsible for regulating most bodily processes – hormones truly affect everything – meaning that hormonal imbalances can cause MAJOR issues for anybody.
Unfortunately, it is hard to escape these compounds in our modern world.
Endocrine-disrupting compounds are used widely in plastics (think plastic containers, plastic bottles, plastic wrap, plastic lining in cans), in pesticides and even in the thermal paper of receipts. Even BPA free plastics are not free of harmful compounds. When microwaving in plastic, those chemicals leach into your food even faster and to a great degree.
The best solution here is to use as little plastic as you can, especially connected to food and beverages: for food storage you can use glass containers or stainless steel; instead of plastic water bottles and plastic cups, use stainless steel water bottles and coffee cups; instead of buying food in cans, find foods in jars, and please do not microwave in plastic or drink hot coffee out of plastic cups (… the thin plastic lids on to-go coffee cups are really good at dripping some hormone disruption into your morning coffee. No thank you!)
Does this feel like too much?
Don’t feel overwhelmed – simply look at the below list and see what you can do step by step to ease the load of chemicals you and your family are exposed to:
Avoid plastics – especially connected to foods:
- use glass or stainless-steel storage containers
- try to buy food in glass jars instead of cans
- replace plastic water bottles with stainless steel bottles
- use stainless steel coffee cups
- don’t microwave in plastics
- don’t use plastics with hot liquids
- If you don’t need the receipt – avoid it
Reduce exposure to pesticides:
- chose more organic foods https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php
- use safe products in your own yard