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Plastics: What’s dangerous  RSS feed

 
Suzy Bean
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Just read an article in Mother Earth News, Issue 235, called “Plastics: What’s dangerous and what’s not.” There was a lot of what I think is important info in the article—more than I will attempt to summarize here—but here are a few snippets:
“The main concern with several types of plastic is that they contain endocrine disruptors—substances that, when taken into our bodies, alter normal hormonal function.”
“Many of the chemicals cause problems because they can mimic the action of natural estrogen” (xenoestrogens) These can “upset normal hormonal balance, stimulate the growth and development of reproductive tumors (breast, uterine, prostate), impair fertility, and disrupt pregnancy.”
“BPA is one of the highest volume chemicals produced worldwide, with over 6 billion pounds produced each year.”
“Used to produce polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, BPA is found in many drinking containers, the lining of most food and beverage cans, (including soda cans), bottle caps, plastic cutlery, plastic food storage containers, toys, dental sealants, some dental composites, water pipes, eyeglass lenses and more.” It is also in “printer ink, newspapers, and carbonless receipts, most recycled paper contains it, including paper towels, and paper used to contain food.” Also: saran wrap
“BPA is in 95% of urine samples.”
-Canned food (metal store-bought canned) is the highest BPA contributer in our diets
-Recycling is important because when plastics etc sit in the landfills, the BPA leaches into our groundwater
-Better to use wooden cutting boards rather than plastic
Phthalates are “used to soften plastic.” They are in: childrens’ toys, cosmetics, nail polish, hairspray, deodorant, shampoos, bodywashes, perfumes, air fresheners, insect repellents, detergents and other cleaning products, lubricants, vinyl products (shower curtains, raincoats, vinyl flooring), medical equipment, the plastic in breast pumps, the outer coating on many pills, garden hoses, pool liners, modeling clay, food packaging
“Avoiding phthalates is challenging because manufacturers aren’t required to list them as product ingredients.”
Look for: “phthalate-free,” and “fragrance-free
 
                                      
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Thanks for sharing this.  I wish the article title was less...misleading.  Seems to me the plastics we use the most and are most exposed to are of the 'dangerous' variety. 
 
Paula Edwards
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Yuck! But we can't really avoid it. Lunchboxes other than plastic? Milk is all in plastic bottles here doe example.
 
                                  
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Plastic is some thing that destroy our environment but we use it in our day to day life.It's good if we can avoid it as much as we can.
 
Suzy Bean
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greenthumb wrote:
I wish the article title was less...misleading.  Seems to me the plastics we use the most and are most exposed to are of the 'dangerous' variety. 

You're right, Greenthumb.
 
Paula Edwards
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There are lunchboxes out of glass with a plastic lid, but in schools they are forbidden and a bit heavy to carry and husbands break them, that's a bit expensive.
 
                                      
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ediblecities wrote:
Lunchboxes other than plastic?


There are lots of alternatives to plastic lunch boxes starting with the old standby, brown paper bags.  You can make your own lunch bag from cloth or buy them from other crafty folks (search etsy for all kinds of eco lunch bag options).  And though I don't think many permies are into juice pouches, here's a cool way to turn juice bags into a lunch bag. http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf984011.tip.html   Happy lunching!
 
Erica Wisner
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One of the best pieces of practical advice I've seen recently was to avoid putting oily foods in plastic - the plasticizers that leach into food are much more likely to do so if the food is oily, like pasta salad, chili, cheese, or peanut-butter.  Dry foods like pretzels, and watery foods like celery and carrots, are a lot less likely to pick up the nasties.
Might wrap the peanut butter in a little twist of wax-paper (usually 'waxed' with silicone these days, an inert material).

If your kid already uses a plastic lunch box, but the lunch box is only a carry-case and isn't directly containing the food, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

I asked my grandma what they used to carry their lunches in (she remembers when they invented wax paper), and she said usually a pail with a clean cloth to cover the food. 

There are still metal lunchboxes out there, with superheroes, My Little Ponies, and cheerfully tasteful adult themes. 
You can get stacking 'tiffin tins' of steel or enameled metal at Asian or Indian food stores.  Good for leftover-type lunches.  (Rice, beans, lasagna, pasta, separate sections for mac-n-cheese and mashed yams...)

Our local Waldorf kids all bring their little lunch baskets that are literally wicker baskets, super-cute.  I suspect it holds them (or their moms) to a higher standard for unpacking the leftovers in a timely way, too.  (They also tend to dry out, rather than mold, which is much nicer to deal with.)
You can make your own lunch basket using the basic model from my 'Ivy Baskets' page.  For the basket to be safe in direct contact with the food, I would suggest using a non-toxic weaver like hazel, garlic-tops, willow, grape, or nettle-stems (collected in fall when tough, and worked over a branch to soften their stings).  Ivy bark tends to peel off over time, and often the little rootlets have dirt on them.
http://www.ErnieAndErica.info/ivybaskets
Your kids can do this, or help you start one, if you have the patience to work with them.  I've gotten useful help from kids as young as 4 to 6, and complete baskets done by kids in the 8-11 range.  (Then they can also repair or replace it if needed when they get a little rough or careless.)
Email me if you need help, or check out a more complete basketry book from your library.  My favorite is a ribbed hoop basket, often called an 'egg basket' or 'melon basket'.

For wrapping individual foods, I do think wax paper is a pretty good option.  Brown paper, and those little cardboard-boxed raisins, are also easily compostable with the leftover food.

And of course, skip right past all this by choosing foods that don't take a lot of wrapping, like whole fruit, or a bagel sandwich that can survive a bus ride.  Soup or stew in a steel thermos works well for adults, especially if the thermos is good enough to keep it hot on a cold day.  Single-serve cheese wheels with their own wax wrappers or rinds are another good adult treat.
 
                                      
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Thanks for the QnE (quick n' easy) tutorial on basket weaving! My list of things to craft is getting longer and I'm lovin' it.  And on the subject of plastics, I am packing a box that needs a little stuffing at the top.  Instead of plastic air bags or styrofoam popcorn, I'm using air popped popcorn--it's compostable and bio-degradable.  I understand it's one thing they used in the days before plastic.  Plus is there anything more squish-resistant than air-popped popcorn?  Yeck!  Totally tasteless for snackin' but great for packin'!
 
                              
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A useful site:

http://lifewithoutplastic.com/

 
                                    
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It's so frustrating to try to stay away from plastics, & any other obviously harmful stuff. Just frustrating. I am wondering what Thanksgiving dinner will be like this year when no one is allowed to bring hot food carried in plastic?
 
                        
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A topic I'm interested in.

Here's my personal situation.  I'm planning on having mercury amalgam fillings removed.  My alternative is epoxy resin/ceramic filling replacements!  The epoxy resin contains BPA.  I do not look forward to having an endocrine disruptor embedded in my mouth, yet I do not want alzheimer's either.  I try to avoid plastic, yet I now find myself scheduling an appointment to have it installed in my body!  Does anyone know of a way to avoid this?  (Aside from having my teeth removed, thank you!)
 
Alex Ojeda
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ediblecities Hatfield wrote:There are lunchboxes out of glass with a plastic lid, but in schools they are forbidden and a bit heavy to carry and husbands break them, that's a bit expensive.


We send our daughter to school with glass drink containers and glass food containers, but eventually she breaks one and then. We are sent the note that they are banned. I'm hoping that eventually she'll get less buttery fingered and we can go back to glass. The stainless drinking gear has BPA plastic tops. The glass containers that we use have a BPA free rubber lid (yay). We have now started choosing her foods so that they are easy to pack without plastic (we're finding more and more BPA free stuff, but there're other concerns).

Just seems like one more reason to home school!
 
maryke star
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no idea fillings could be BPA go cermic. mssh ill be getting mine replaced (fillings.)
 
maryke star
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any idea what to do if you thought plastic bags had gotteninto your compost/garden
 
Rusty Bowman
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kazron McCoy wrote:A topic I'm interested in.

Here's my personal situation.  I'm planning on having mercury amalgam fillings removed.  My alternative is epoxy resin/ceramic filling replacements!  The epoxy resin contains BPA.  I do not look forward to having an endocrine disruptor embedded in my mouth, yet I do not want alzheimer's either.  I try to avoid plastic, yet I now find myself scheduling an appointment to have it installed in my body!  Does anyone know of a way to avoid this?  (Aside from having my teeth removed, thank you!)


Find a dentist that uses BPA free fillings. Can't remember what it was my dentist used but when I had my amalgams replaced, he said the new fillings were free of BPA.
 
John Polk
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For those of you who do home canning, most lids are treated with BPA.
There is a company (Tattler) that makes reuseable canning lids that are BPA-free.
They use a rubber ring for the seal.

http://www.amazon.com/Tattler-Reusable-Regular-Canning-Rubber/dp/B0051PDXCQ
 
Alex Ojeda
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Alex Ojeda wrote:
ediblecities Hatfield wrote:There are lunchboxes out of glass with a plastic lid, but in schools they are forbidden and a bit heavy to carry and husbands break them, that's a bit expensive.


We send our daughter to school with glass drink containers and glass food containers, but eventually she breaks one and then. We are sent the note that they are banned. I'm hoping that eventually she'll get less buttery fingered and we can go back to glass. The stainless drinking gear has BPA plastic tops. The glass containers that we use have a BPA free rubber lid (yay). We have now started choosing her foods so that they are easy to pack without plastic (we're finding more and more BPA free stuff, but there're other concerns).

Just seems like one more reason to home school!


We had exactly the same problem. We will be homeschooling next year for that reason and a list of 100 other reasons. If you want to win this fight you have to do drastic things. I for one am not going to leave my child out in that system where it teaches them everything corporately backwards...

Thanks for this post, I now don't feel so alone.
 
Burra Maluca
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Alex Ojeda wrote:

Thanks for this post, I now don't feel so alone.


You are far from alone! I might go start a home-school thread just to get a few more of us out of the closet...
 
Rusty Bowman
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Alex Ojeda wrote:
ediblecities Hatfield wrote:There are lunchboxes out of glass with a plastic lid, but in schools they are forbidden and a bit heavy to carry and husbands break them, that's a bit expensive.


We send our daughter to school with glass drink containers and glass food containers, but eventually she breaks one and then. We are sent the note that they are banned. I'm hoping that eventually she'll get less buttery fingered and we can go back to glass. The stainless drinking gear has BPA plastic tops. The glass containers that we use have a BPA free rubber lid (yay). We have now started choosing her foods so that they are easy to pack without plastic (we're finding more and more BPA free stuff, but there're other concerns).

Just seems like one more reason to home school!


Stainless steel Klean Kanteens use BPA free polypropylene in their plastic lids. They also have stainless steel lids which, is what I use.

These bottles may cost a little more than some but they are made to last. Between the three of us in our family, we have more than a half dozen different sizes and models. All been great. We send the 12oz "insulated" with stainless lid to school with our daughter. Holds heat so well that morning made tea for us is still hot at 3:00 PM. I'm still using the original "classic" purchased in 2004. Been used most days since. It has fallen out of my kayak and rolled down more than one rocky riverside bank. It's battered looking, in a classic looking durable way, but still going strong. http://www.kleankanteen.com
 
Alex Ojeda
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Burra Maluca wrote:
Alex Ojeda wrote:

Thanks for this post, I now don't feel so alone.


You are far from alone! I might go start a home-school thread just to get a few more of us out of the closet...


Awesome! Yeah, I've found that Homeschooling is easier in just about all ways except you can't work in a traditional style job. I'm hoping to have my daughter help me in our home business once we get her school work done for the day. I'm learning a BUNCH about this right now and would be happy to exchange info.
 
Alex Ojeda
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Maybe we should start a new thread and document the process and results?
 
Andy Reed
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Most houses now have plastic water pipes, do they contain BPA or other nasties? I've come up blank with a suitable alternative. Galvanised steel is worse and stainless is way to expensive. It may the price you have to pay though.
 
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