Environmentalists guilt us into using less plastic to save marine life in the ocean. Here’s the problem. Plastics degrade into small pieces, but they don’t biodegrade. These plastic pieces become increasingly more toxic as they absorb other runoff contaminants and end up in the waterways and oceans where marine life tend to mistake them for food. Since we are higher up in the food chain, it’s not just about marine life. It’s also about us.
You’ll hear me say many times, “we are what we eat.” But we are also “what we eat ‘eats.’” These toxic plastics enter our bodies when we eat fish, shrimp, crab, salmon, etc. When we consider this perspective, it’s in our best interest to reduce our use of plastic. But plastic contaminants also enter our bodies in other ways. Again, it’s not just about marine life.
Consider the plastics we’re exposed to daily that have an impact on our body. Most of our food containers from the bottles of water, juice, or soft drinks and the lining of aluminum cans to the plastic wraps and containers we store food in are made from polycarbonate plastics. And some of these have bioactive chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which can leach into our food and drinks especially when they are heated.
A 2016 research study concluded that, “BPA may be reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen in the breast and prostate due to its tumor promoting properties. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified one type of phthalate (DEHP) as a possible cause of cancer. And another phthalate (DINP) has been linked to cancer in rats and mice.
The World Health Organization (WHO) decided to conduct a review of plastics in drinking water after recent research found that more than 90 percent of bottled water was contaminated with microplastics.
Simply put, ingesting these low doses of plastic chemicals can interfere with the delicate hormone balances our bodies need to maintain. These chemicals mimic hormones such as estrogen, which can contribute to estrogen dominance (80 percent of breast cancer patients are estrogen positive), inhibit the effects of testosterone, and interfere with important pathways in the thyroid gland.
The endocrine disrupting capabilities of these plastics can have an impact on our health and reproductive development—and have some cancer organizations such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) and breastcancer.org warning about a possible link to female cancers. It’s these low doses over time causing the concern. Now I’ve got your attention. This information should disturb you if you are a woman, a man, or have children. I no longer wonder why I developed an estrogen-fed cancer. I’m uncovering many reasons.
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging families to limit their use of plastic food containers and demanding more oversight and reforms in US government regulations. Unfortunately, most Americans have measurable amounts of phthalates and BPA in their bodies. Since the regulations on chemicals in food containers are weak, you must become your own best advocate.
So if you’re not concerned about what’s collecting on the bottom of the ocean floor, you might think about what’s accumulating in your own body where you live. What goes around comes around—right back to us like a boomerang! When considering plastics, it’s not just about marine life. It’s all about us and our health.
Next week few weeks, we’ll look at how to identify the plastics which carry the most risk, and what we can do to limit our exposure. Don’t kid yourself; we live in a fake, plastic world. These plastics are here to stay.
Here’s to your health! And for the sake of others, pass this on!