July 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

When molecules of the chemicals that get added to plastics during manufacturing get into our bodies, it is not a good thing. Some of these chemicals, called phthalates, are environmental contaminants that can mimic estrogen.    Getting too much of these estrogen mimicking molecules disrupt the endocrine system and have been associated with breast and prostate cancer, early puberty, miscarriage and low sperm count*.   It was researchers fromTufts Medical School who first discovered the plastic-cancer link when the plastic leached into the researchers’ test tubes and cancer multiplied like crazy.  

If you are going to use plastics to store your food remember – the higher the recycling number in the triangle on the bottom of the plastic, the more toxic and volatile the chemical in the plastic.

As your plastic containers wear out it is best to transition to containers made from what they call “inert” materials.  (It’s also more earth friendly).  The best of these is glass, followed closely by porcelain, ceramic and stainless steel.  In the meantime:

 1.         Only store “non-liquid” foods, like washed raw veggies, in plastics and only in those plastics with the recycling # 1 & 2 in the triangle on the bottom of the container.

            (Plastics with numbers 3, 6 or 7 have a chemical called BPA (Bisphenol A), are the most dangerous and should be avoided at all cost.)  

2.         Store all other food in heat resistant glass, porcelain, ceramic or stainless steel containers.  (Remember to fill glass containers only about ¾ full if you are storing liquid items like spaghetti.  Otherwise the glass receptacle could crack as the liquid expands in the freezer).   

 3.         Stop microwaving your food in plastics (especially pre-packaged frozen meals)!  It releases the plastic chemicals into your food.  You shouldn’t use microwaves at all, but if you must, transfer the meal to a porcelain, ceramic, or glass container first.  If this receptacle has a plastic lid, leave it off and cover it with a plate.

 As long as we’re talking about plastics:

 4.         Consider glass baby bottles rather than the polycarbonate plastic ones.  Researchers heated 19 different brand name baby bottles to 175 degrees F  (80 degrees C)  and everyone of them leached bisphenol A.* (See Time Health & Science article Are Plastic Baby Bottles Harmful? February 8, 2008).

 5.         Don’t put a straw or plastic stirrer into a hot beverage!  You are basically extracting the properties of the straw into the liquid.

 6.         It is best to use stainless steel cooking utensils.  If you are going to cook with plastic utensils, be sure you follow the manufacturers’ directions. 

 7.         It is best not to use (certainly not re-use) Styrofoam containers.   They will live longer than you do and weigh less with each use because they leach chemicals into your food.   Use sturdy paper cups, etc., in their stead.


*,8599,1711398,00.html#ixzz0tsgUR2nK – Plastic Food Containers

Natural Healing, summer 2010

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Health Alerts, Healthy Living After 50, June 2010, Interview with Dr. Rolf Halden


Entry filed under: Health Advice. Tags: , , , .

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