TAG | plastic
A recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) investigated the exposure of pregnant women to 163 chemicals, revealing, “ubiquitous exposure to multiple chemicals during a sensitive period of development.” The study found that pregnant women were even exposed to chemicals banned decades ago, and some of the chemicals analyzed were found in 99 – 100 percent of the women.
Health effects were not assessed in this study, but many of the chemicals found are known to have detrimental consequences on health. In another case study of one woman with particularly high levels of bisphenol A (BPA) during her 27th week of pregnancy, the infant experienced neurobehavioral abnormalities at his one-month study visit. Researchers of this study were able to trace her abnormally high BPA exposure to the high consumption of canned foods, heating of plastic food containers, and use of plastic cups. The week of her highest recorded BPA level, she consumed canned ravioli each day. It is known that acidic foods can bring out more BPA from can lining, and canned tomato foods have been found to be higher in BPA.
BPA and phthalate exposure can be reduced by purchasing fresh unpackaged foods and avoiding plastic food packaging, storage containers and utensils. In one study, again published in Environmental Health Perspectives, consuming fresh foods prepared and consumed without the use of plastic was associated with a 66 percent reduction in the amount of BPA in urine.
We can’t eliminate all toxins, but there are small things we can do try to reduce them. Replace your plastic Tupperware with glass containers. Don’t use plastic wrap and try to prepare as much food as you can from fresh, unpackaged foods. And never heat food or drink in plastic. Do what you can and know that you are at least doing something. Spread the word—pass this information on.
Today more than 1 billion people across the globe will be celebrating a different kind of Mother’s Day, one that marks 40 years of commemorating Mother Earth. What began as an environmental “teach-in” in 1970 is now a worldwide salute to environmental protection that encompasses climate change, conservation, sustainable development, recycling and more. Join ReNew Life and Brenda Watson this Earth Day as we work to make our world a cleaner, greener place in which to live—with small but important changes that can start right in your own home.
- Turn Off the Lights! Electricity is generated by burning coal and fossil fuels, which can pollute the environment. Remember to turn off lights and unplug electronic devices when they are not being used.
- Conserve Water. Cut back on home water use by limiting shower time, turning off the water while you brush your teeth, and doing full loads of laundry instead of several smaller loads.
- Go Paperless. Nowadays most banks and credit card companies offer paperless online account management, and even newspapers and magazines offer online subscriptions.
- Adjust Your Thermostat. Setting your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer reduces electricity use and CO₂output.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It may seem like a no-brainer, but according to the EPA about 80% of what Americans throw away is recyclable, yet our recycling rate is just 28%.
- Stop Buying Bottled Water. Bottled water produces more than 1 million tons of plastic waste each year, and over 80% of plastic water bottles are thrown away. A better alternative? Install water filters in your home, and use refillable aluminum water bottles.
- Green Grocery Shopping. Millions of plastic bags end up polluting our environment (including our oceans) every year, but the alternative—paper bags—require more energy to produce and actually cause more waste. Use eco-safe cloth bags instead to carry your groceries.
- Walk, Bike, Carpool. Whenever possible, reduce your carbon footprint by walking or biking instead of driving. For your daily commute to work, kids’ after-school events, or even weekly shopping trips, consider carpooling to cut back on automobile use.