Maintaining a safe lifestyle is not only about following a balanced diet or doing regular exercise. Our lifestyle is made up of the choices we make in every sphere: what to buy, how to prepare food, how to heat and also how to store food items. While the advances in science have given rise to completely new, modern and attractive ways to manage food products and their storage, it is not without harmful implications. Is it a myth or reality?
What is Plastic? Before addressing this issue, it is important to understand plastic as a product. What are the raw materials that make up plastic? Are these materials safe and stable or are they unstable and may have the possibility of causing any harm? While the green people may attack plastic formation owing to the usage of oil and other natural products, what actually makes plastic a danger is the presence of the compound Bisphenol A. What makes Bisphenol A a worrisome issue is the unstable nature of this product. When exposed to heat, or acid, or strong detergents, the respective components can break up and leech in to the food and beverages, making plastic a dangerous product to use for storing and also heating up food.
Bisphenol A is found primarily in Polycarbonates, depicted with the number ‘7’. Polycarbonates are basically used to make water bottles, lining tin cans of food and beverages, making baby feeding bottles as well as 5-gallon water bottles. Special attention needs to be paid to the products outlined above. Water bottles are in use almost all the time, in fact they are not only used once but reused in many households. Similarly, tinned foods and drinks are a favorite in many household owing to the ease of use of such items. Baby feeding bottles are present in every household where a baby is born. The usage of these products is very high in not just one region of the world but almost everywhere. And it is in these products that Bisphenol A is present, making leeching a highly likable reality.
The first study conducted to determine whether the presence of this compound in plastic is harmful was executed by the Japanese on a set of monkeys. This comprised of a set of pregnant female monkeys throughout their pregnancy. The results were then compiled after the behavioral pattern of the born male monkey was scrutinized. It was observed that there was a difference in the behavioral pattern associated with a male monkey, with the monkey displaying many female characteristics particularly in the social exploration areas. Despite this study being conducted on monkeys, scientists have conceded that the impact of BPA can cause chromosomal defects, affect the egg cells and in addition to that, also deter the development of the mammary glands.
The shrewd nature of this compound is what makes plastics dangerous. The nature of BPA is such that it impersonates the estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for brain and fetus development as well as the reproductive system. It is interesting to note, that Bisphenol A is said to be present in the body of every individual living in the developed country, owing primarily to the lifestyle drenched in plastic ware of various kind. The basic problems caused by BPA or the dangerous plastic, or polycarbonate, are as follows. These findings are backed up by the survey conducted by the Environmental Defense, Toronto.
- Low sperm count
- Infertile sperm
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Early puberty
- Altered immune systems
The Food and Drug Association has deemed baby bottles made from polycarbonate as safe and lacking any adverse effects. However, BPA experts state otherwise. From what has been analyzed, this claim was based on 2 studies conduction by the plastics industry, with blatant disregard for the remaining 100 studies that prove otherwise. In fact, it is interesting to note that in the past 9 years, all studies funded by the chemical industry denies that BPA may be dangerous for the well-being of children, particularly, as they constitute the group most prone to the leeching process. On the other hand, the 151 studies conducted by the government proved that BPA is harmful when taken in low doses.
Amusing, as it is, one of the industry studies that stated that BPA has no effect was later studied by the scientists of the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services who conceded that there was an effect. Similarly, for the two studies that the Food and Drug association used to arrive at their result, one of them was not even published. Either way, the dangers posed by plastic are not just an over exaggerated idea, but the truth that has been proved repeatedly by various studies. It is time to make a move towards a plastic-free lifestyle. Are you up for it?