Spring Detox: Plastic

Detox Plastic Naturopathic Doctor Denver Colorado

No doubt you’ve heard many recommendations throughout the years to avoid eating and drinking out of plastic. And maybe you’ve developed some great habits to do this… like using glass storage containers for your food and switching to glass or stainless steel bottles for your water. Sometimes we forget why certain guidelines are repeated over and over. So whether this is the first time you’ve heard this advice or the millionth time, here’s why I think avoiding plastic is so very important to our bodies.

Detox Plastic Naturopathic Doctor Denver ColoradoUltimately, plastics contain very toxic chemicals: they “are produced from natural gas, feedstocks derived from natural gas processing, and feedstocks derived from crude oil refining.” While it’s impossible to avoid using plastic in the medical field, driving our cars, and even using the device you’re reading this on(!), I believe it’s very important to limit our exposure as much as possible.

The Evidence of Plastic’s Effects on Our Bodies

The most common plastic term we’ve all heard about is BPA (bisphenol A). So many manufacturers now use BPS (bisphenol B) so they can label their products BPA-free. However, studies are slowly investigating the health concerns around this chemical too (1). Most of our exposure of BPS comes in the form of handling cash register receipts coated in the chemical and using hand sanitizer first increases the absorption of BPS (2)!

Detox Plastic Naturopathic Doctor Denver ColoradoThen there’s “phthalates—a word almost impossible to spell and pronounce but definitely worthy of knowing because of their powerful ability to disrupt our endocrine systems.” MindBodyGreen published an article by Dr. Joel Kahn, MD just a few weeks ago with citations to studies and reports about phthalates affecting everything from increasing the risk of metabolic syndrome to “reduced penis width in newborn male infants.” It includes some other interesting correlations and lists the many items that often contain phthalates (think bendy-plastic things like plastic wrap): body care products (especially if they list “fragrance” or “perfume”), household products, flooring, and even food products like meat, cheese, and grains.

These are some of the ways that plastic can have a poor effect on our health:

  • Autoimmunity (3)
  • Birth defects and developmental problems (4, 5, 6, 7)    
  • Cancer (8, 9, the endocrine disruptors are a plausible contributor to female cancers 10, the link of PCBs and cancer 11, 12, 13, workers involved in plastic production are at a much greater risk for cancer 14, 15)   
  • Hormone regulation because BPA acts as a xenoestrogen (16)
  • Immunity (16, 17)
  • Infertility & increased risk of miscarriage (16, 18)
  • Obesity (where chemicals – not excess sugar or fat consumption, or a sedentary lifestyle – lead to weight issues 19)
  • Thyroid (20, 21)

Plastic & Eating

Detox Plastic Naturopathic Doctor Denver ColoradoBy and large, the greatest concern here is when you heat and reheat your food in plastic-coated cookware (like Teflon pans) or containers. Microwaves and plastic should never mix. Avoid food that comes in BPA-lined cans and start substituting your most frequently used canned goods: use fresh tomatoes or those stored in glass instead of using canned, make beans from scratch in a slow cooker (her recipe works for me every time) instead of eating canned, and buy fresh or frozen veggies instead of those that come in a can. Keep in mind that Items that children play with and often put in their mouths could contain BPA plastic including toys, bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups.

PS – In case it needs to be specifically mentioned… please, do not poach your eggs sous-vide by placing them in plastic wrap and boiling them in water! You can make them using this method instead.

Plastic & Drinking

Detox Plastic Naturopathic Doctor Denver ColoradoHopefully, for the sake of the environment, you’ve reduced or eliminated your use of bottled plastic water. Two great documentaries about this are The Story of Bottled Water and Tapped. While the water sits for months or even years before you drink it, sometimes in very hot or cold conditions that could weaken the plastic, chemicals are transferred in the water. And in case you haven’t made the switch already, here are 2 glass bottle options: one with a flip cap and one without a flip cap.

Keep in mind that many producers of soda cans and beer cans also coat the inside of the aluminum can with plastic. If you drink water out of coolers at home or work, it’s best to find glass or ceramic containers.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

I know it can feel like there’s a million-and-one toxins to worry about and avoid in our society and culture. While we can do all the detoxing and cleanses we want, it serves us better to avoid introducing as many of these chemicals into our bodies. It’s important, and I don’t want you to do nothing. Take baby steps at first… replace your food storage and water bottle, then substitute alternatives to your canned food, then look for glass-bottled beverages, and so on. Then in a few months or sometime next year, look around your home and congratulate yourself on how well you’re doing.

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3 Responses to Spring Detox: Plastic

  1. Vic says:

    This is why I don’t like drinking on plastic and I always bring my own jug. Great post by the way!

  2. Jhoei says:

    Wow. This is very informative and enlightening for me. Thank you so much for sharing this. I really learned a lot from this. Keep it up!

  3. This is a new thing about detoxing I know. Grateful to have stumbled on this blog!

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