Plastic is Toxic
Why is plastic toxic?
A lot of different plastics types contain endocrine disruptors. These chemical molecules have an action on the hormonal system even at very low concentrations. They are not poisonous like cyanide for example, but have undesirable effects on health, growth, behavior, mood, energy use and storage, blood circulation, sexual and reproductive functions, sleep quality.
The most common endocrine disruptors found in plastic are :
- Bisphenol A also called BPA
- Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate also called DEHP
Endocrine disruptors can also be found in pesticides, pharmaceuticals, metals, detergents, flame retardant, cosmetics… The world is exposed to all these chemical molecules and the scientists don’t exactly know the impact of these chemicals on human health and environment.
Nevertheless, endocrine disruptors are also strongly suspected to cause cancers and precocious puberty.
What is my endocrine system?
The body functioning is regulated by the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of glands which secrete hormones. These hormones travel thorough the body to the targeted cells, which respond to this stimulus.
The response can be :
- Another hormone, which will target another type of cells
- A protein, which will change the body parameters (for example : change the functioning of an organ)
How work the endocrine disruptors?
Because endocrine disruptors have the same shape as the body’s hormones, the body doesn’t make any difference between these two kinds of molecules. This can change affect the body functioning in three ways:
1. Increasing the targeted cell’s response : the body doesn’t produce any hormone, but the targeted cells are activated by the endocrine disruptors (examples : oestrogens, androgens, thyroid hormones)
2. Decreasing targeted cell’s response: endocrine disruptor is bind to the receptor but don’t provoke the cell’s response. The receptor is no more available for the body’s hormone and the normal signal fails to respond properly.
3. Altering the natural hormone system: the body doesn’t produce any hormone but the endocrine disruptors activate the targeted cells which respond. This response induces an alteration of the organs functioning.
What plastics contain endocrine disruptors?
There are two main endocrine disruptors used in the plastic industry.
1. BPA - Bisphenol A
food cans (white plastic layer inside the cans also called epoxid resin)
different types of paper, such as printer paper, sales receipts,...
In 2010, Canada declared BPA a toxic substance and has banned BPA due to health concerns.
According to Plastic Europe, 4 billion tons of BPA was produced in 2015.
2. DEHP - Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
child care articles
Canada's government have assessed that DEHP is suspected to be harmful to the environment and to have the potential to be harmful to human health. Manufacture and import of articles with DEHP in Canada are subject to several health and safety regulations.
- Avoid using plastic bottles, especially baby bottles older than 2010
- Do not warm your food in plastic containers.
- When possible, do not put food in plastic.
- Switch to non-plastic containers for food storage.
The best way to avoid endocrine disruptors is to eat organic food and store food in non-plastic containers.
Avoid chemical cosmetics, plastic sealed food and plastic bottles.
Almost all the baby and child care items can be found plastic-free or can be home-made.
See our sources for more info.