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Being Health Conscious (Part 4): Plastics

Being Health Conscious (Part 4): Plastics published on 1 Comment on Being Health Conscious (Part 4): Plastics

Here is my fourth part to our Health Consciousness at the Argyll home.

Part 1: Pancakes

Part 2: GMOs

Part 3: Sugar and Toxins

A while back, my husband had sent me an article about the toxicity of plastic bags. At this point, we were storing our homemade organic granola is dollar store brand zip lock bags. After reading this article, he was wondering if we should look into alternate food storage containers. Little did he know that he had just taken one piece of a 5000 piece puzzle out of the plastic box.

That article led me to start researching plastic more and more. What I’ve found out so far is dismal. Basically all plastic is toxic and we shouldn’t use it. It’s toxic for us, for animals, for the environment, for our planet, etc. My initial discoveries included to not recycle receipts since they’re coated with BPA that will get leached into other paper products like toilet paper. I already knew that the receipts had BPA and that expectant mothers shouldn’t touch receipts since the BPA can cause ADHD in her child, but I was unaware that I shouldn’t recycle them. I learned that they line canned goods with BPA. Ever notice how after emptying and washing out a can of tomatoes, the can is still red on the inside? Ever notice that storing tomato sauce in plastic leaves the plastic red? That’s plastic interacting with our food in the can and in the plastic. So canned goods are no good either. I learned that BPA free plastics aren’t necessarily better because they just contain other chemicals instead, that heating or freezing plastic makes toxins leach out more easily, etc.

At this point, I found a book called Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry and bought it. I don’t buy many books, but this one looks like it just might be worth it. I’ve been reading it and becoming even more obsessed about plastic toxins. I’m at the point of thinking, what does it matter if it’s organic if it’s packaged in plastic? Pesticides are estrogenic and the chemicals that leach from plastics mimic estrogen in our bodies. I am working on making my home as plastic free as possible and am hoping that this book will help. Thus far I have: replaced my plastic canisters with glass ones (Good Will- a thrift store- made this very inexpensive), stopped using my plastic spatulas and bought wooden ones with a natural oil finish, stopped using my plastic water bottle and am using my stainless steel coffee mug instead- it still has a plastic lid, but at least the water isn’t in contact with that the whole time, and got rid of my plastic kettle and bought a stainless steel stove top one instead (Why plastic kettles? Why? Heating plastic leaches toxins, why would you make a kettle out of plastic?). I am refusing receipts at the check-out for the most part (Costco for example makes you hold them until you leave the store- AHHH BPA in my skin!) and not accepting any more plastic bags. I put my produce in my reusable bags (which are unfortunately made of plastic for the most part) and when I get home I wrap them in wet tea towels to keep them fresh in the fridge.plastic free wooden utensils plastic free canisters

The one day at the beginning of my plastic awakening my husband came home from work. I started telling him all about what I was learning and what we needed to change and get rid of. He looked at me and said, “I think you’re going a bit stir crazy.” Yes, looking at all the plastic in my house can do that.

Other than educating myself, I am rubbing off little by little on those around me. The other day, I went to the chiropractor. As I was paying, I asked to only have the print out receipt and not the receipt from the debit machine. She asked, “You don’t need it?”

“No, and it’s lined with BPA and BPA can cause ADHD in babies of expectant mothers.”

She looked shocked and scared, “I didn’t know that, I feel like I should be wearing gloves.” She looked with disgust at her hands that were holding the BPA laden receipt.

“Yeah, and you shouldn’t recycle receipts either because then the BPA gets into the recycled paper, like toilet paper.”

“I didn’t know that either.”

As she was buying in to what I was saying, I thought I’d take it a step further, “Maybe you could switch to using other receipt paper that isn’t lined with BPA.”

“I don’t know if we have much of a choice, this seems like all we have to use.”

“Well you could always try.”

It will be interesting to see next time I’m there if they switch their receipt paper.

Again, I was at the grocery store and at the till I asked for no receipt. She still wanted to hand it to me, “You need it to get out of the store.”

At this particular store, I have NEVER been stopped and asked to show my receipt. So, I protested, “But I don’t want to touch it.” I said with a look of repugnance on my face.

She just looked puzzled. “It’s lined with BPA.” I explained.

She conceded, “Well if you get stopped, just tell them to come see me at till 11.”

One of my disappointment is that tellers can’t choose to not print the receipt when the customer asks. The only place where I’ve found they can choose that option is at one natural foods store. Yesterday, I went to Planet Organic and all this wonderful organic produce was laden with plastic fruit and vegetable stickers, and plastic bags were offered throughout the store for produce and bulk items. The teller had to chuck my receipt in the garbage, she didn’t have an option not to print it. Yet, here I was there buying milk in returnable glass jars that I am planning on making yogurt and cottage cheese with to reduce my plastic waste of buying yogurt and cheese. Oh the irony.

Luckily, to keep our spirits up instead of getting depressed at the plastic problem, my husband and I are always coming home and telling stories about our most recent plastic adventure and our reaction to people with plastics. I especially like laughing over being that “socially awkward” informative person.

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