It seems like everything these days is made of plastic. From our household goods to our personal care products to our children’s toys, we can’t get away from the stuff.
Plastics are dangerous because of the chemicals that are used to create and shape them. There are countless varieties of plastic, but every one of them requires the use of harsh chemicals during manufacturing.
Unfortunately, these chemicals stay with the plastic after processing and eventually make their way to you. Even if the plastic is merely packaging, the toxins leech into the package’s contents to get into our bodies.
So what are the effects of plastic on our children and the environment?
- Plastic is non-biodegradable – It won’t break down for about 500-1000 years in a landfill, but it will choke plant. If animals eat it, they typically die because their stomach acids can’t break it down.
- Plastics are filling up our oceans – Because of plastic’s low density, it tends to travel away from landfills and barges into our water system. In 1997, a sea captain discovered a pile of trash in the North Pacific Ocean that is larger than Texas. 90% of it is plastic.
- Some plastics inhibit hormone function – Our bodies use hormones as regulators, like little policemen that tell us how to behave. Some plastics, like BPA and phthalates, can replace certain hormones (usually estrogen). Our bodies think everything is normal, so they don’t create more of that hormone. But since the toxin doesn’t behave like the hormone (just looks like it), we’re left with a shortage. This is especially damaging to developing bodies.
- Plastics can cause cancer – Certain chemicals, like formaldehyde and PVC, can actually trigger the production of cancerous tissue in our bodies. They can also cause chronic diseases, like asthma, obesity, and developmental disabilities.
- They cause miscarriages and early births – Studies show that that’s there a correlation between the amount of plastic-transferred toxins (namely phthalates) in the cord blood of a pregnant mother and miscarriages/premature births. This means the toxins are passing from mother to child and disrupting the pregnancy.
Wherever possible, find alternatives to plastic. Here are some suggestions:
- Buy and store food in bamboo, metal, wax paper, foil, or glass containers, or fresh food that is open. Bamboo is your best bet as a plastic alternative because it’s tough enough for most purposes, doesn’t come with any nasty chemicals, and degrades naturally in a landfill. It also handles high and low temperatures very well.
- Do not give children plastic toys. Opt for wood or organic fibers.
- Use bedding, clothing, towels, carpet and linens made from natural fibers without much processing.
- Do not heat up food in plastic containers or store it in plastic wrap.
- Use cloth-based shopping bags instead of disposable ones.
- Opt for personal care products that are stored in glass containers.
How do you take steps to remove plastic from your family’s life?
Written by Cameron and Lorilyn Honarvar, Founders of Pacific Baby. Cameron was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He worked in investment banking for several years. He spent time in Hong Kong. He's been in the baby product business since 1995 - spending 10 years as a retailer, 10 years as a distributor, and then 5 years now as the founder, along with his wife Lorilyn, of Pacific Baby. Lorilyn has designed many of the company’s products, and manages Pacific Baby’s marketing and promotional activities.
Presently, the Honarvar's run Pacific Baby, a line of natural and safe bamboo tableware for babies and kids, and getting their message out regarding environmentally sustainable and healthy feeding products!
For more information, visit www.pacificbabyworld.com.
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