Hopefully, we’re all trying to reduce the amount of plastic we actually need in our lives on a daily basis, but it’s not likely that you’ve been able to cut all plastics out of your life. Most of those plastics contain harmful chemicals and they certainly aren’t good for the environment. Plastics have polluted the planet so much that the struggle will take ages to deal with. Not all plastics are created equal, though, and if you have to have plastic in your life, you should choose them carefully.
Strange as it may seem, we still don’t know what a lot about the toxicity of plastics. What we do know is that certain chemical additives are known to be toxic. Bisphenol-A, more commonly known as BPA, and the softening agents known as phthalates are some of the more commonly discussed toxic chemicals. They’re both known to affect hormones and have been linked to brain and behavior related problems, as well as cancer and problems with the reproductive system.
We stick a lot of plastics in our mouths, so be careful with any food-related plastics you’re still using. Any utensils, containers or even baby toys that are marked with “PVC” is often made using the above mentioned phthalates. The chemical was banned in the production of toys after 2009, but there are still plenty of products floating around that were made prior to the ban, and those products still contain PVC.
Many food and liquid storage containers now boast the trait “BPA-free,” and that’s a good thing. However, there are still plenty of containers out there marked as a polycarbonate (or with the number “7”), and that means BPA.
Your best bet when it comes to plastic food storage containers is to find products marked with 1, 2, 4 or 5.
Be careful with how you handle plastics, too. One of the worst things you can do is to microwave containers. The heat breaks down the chemical makeup and harmful toxins can leach into your food. Along the same lines, try to avoid plastics for hot liquids.
Remember, your best option is to cut out plastics entirely, so if you can, look at using glass or stainless steel containers for food and liquid storage, and be careful when buying children’s toys.