Without doubt, we live in a world made of plastic. We wake up and brush our teeth with plastic toothbrushes and toothpaste from plastic tubes. Once everyone in the house is stirring, we head to the kitchen to pour our children and ourselves a bowl of cereal that is in a plastic bag. Then, we reach in the fridge for milk to accompany that cereal, which comes from a plastic carton. At around 8 a.m., we drop the kids off to the sitter or at school and head to our own 9-5 jobs that involve computers and keyboards—yes, made of plastic. In the end, we are the very dolls we grew up with—Ken and Barbie.
Until recently, the over reliance on plastic products was not a pressing issue and health concern despite being on the environmentalists’ radar. Clearly, we all know that plastic pollution is a problem for our ecosystem. However, now there is an overwhelming amount of research that links the chemicals used to make plastic to a variety of health problems. The most common of the plastics is bisphenol-a (BPA), which was synthesized in 1891 and used as synthetic estrogen in the 1930’s. Chemists discovered during World War I that BPA could be made into polycarbonate, which is the hard, clear plastic that is lightweight, heat resistant, and even shatter resistant.
If asked what has BPA in it just from that description, you would probably answer plastic water bottles. Yet, while undetected, BPA is also found in the lining of tin cans, dental sealants, plastic containers, protective and corrective eyewear, DVDs, children’s safety equipment, and even sales receipts.
Over a decade ago, Patricia Hunt, Ph. D Reproductive Biology, began exploring why human reproduction has so many complications. Her hunch was that the chromosomally abnormal eggs that continue to plague pregnancies were tied to our very own hormones. Hunt performed her study regarding hormone levels on female mice and found a highly disturbing result—over 40 percent of mice in her study had egg defects. After extensive research to get to the bottom of the 40 percent, Hunt discovered the result was due to the janitor. Yes, the very janitor that was responsible to clean the cages and water bottles for the mice.
Unfortunately for the mice, the janitor was not using the usual mild detergent, but instead a more abrasive cleaner that activated the leaching of BPA. If not for this accident, Hunt may not have begun research on BPA. By 1998, Hunt began speaking out about the adverse effects of BPA that cause meiotic disruption and other health concerns. In 2007, Hunt and 36 other researchers released a “state of the evidence” paper for Reproductive Toxicology. The group of researchers analyzed hundreds of government-funded studies and found that 90 percent of studies have concluded that BPA is a health risk.
Since Hunt’s discovery, research has shown that BPA has been linked to reproductive issues, cancer, depression, obesity, and even behavioral problems like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Due to a study by the American Chemistry Council regarding the toxic effects of BPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration set guidelines to limit the exposure of BPA. The guidelines are that safe daily exposure to BPA should be at 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. Yet, according to Hunt, treating BPA like a traditional toxin is even more dangerous. Hunt explains that if chemicals are bad, “then higher doses are worse and an even higher dose is even worse.”
Higher doses of hormones can shut down the body’s response and even low doses will exert effects on the human body. In other words, any exposure to BPA could have serious consequences. In 2004, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found BPA in the urine of 93 percent of more than 2,500 adults. And further research from the National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has detected BPA in human blood and breast milk. The effects on the human body are not as black and white as scientists would like, so Hunt has begun research to figure out if diet can alter the response to the chemical.
With all of the research surrounding the negative effects of BPA, and yet so much plastic in our daily lives, is there truly any way to get out of a plastic world? As mothers and fathers, our first step would be to remove the plastic from our children. You will be happy to know that Playtex, Wal-Mart, and other companies have banned BPA from children’s bottles and sippy cups. Next step, we should start ridding our kitchens and homes of BPA products—easier said than done, I know.
Why Can Your Own Food:
- Reduce the leaching of BPA found in canned food!
- Mason jars are reusable.
- No emissions caused by a truck hauling your food thousands of miles across the country.
- Financially friendly! If you aren’t growing produce straight from your garden, then buying it in season when it is cheap is the next best option! Also, those expensive jams you may see at expensive grocers can be made for pennies!
- Domesticated goodness! The feeling you will achieve when you hear the can pop as it seals is fantastic. I would say this feeling is similar to how you feel after yoga. Relaxed, content, and happy. I dare you to tell me that after canning successfully you don’t feel like you achieved something amazing and have the world’s biggest grin on your face. This is the feeling that causes people to create blogs about canning!
- Connecting to our roots. Many people feel that canning is a powerful way to connect to the past. By canning, we may be able to continue on old family recipes that tie us to our heritage and culture.
- Gift that keeps on giving! Yes, canning can be a wonderful gift to give during the holidays! You can dress the jars of cherries up with ribbons and paint. Make a cute gift basket and include the recipe for a Cosmo!
Kitchen Products to Swap:
- Utensils: Swap out the plastic spoons and spatulas with wood and stainless steel. *Tip: for a fun gift basket idea, take a few wood utensils and dip them in fun non-toxic paint on the ends of the handle (not the part used for serving food) and include a jar of your newly famous jam!
- Cups: Opt for stainless steel or ceramic products.
- Kangovou makes wonderful sippy cups for your little ones. We offer a variety of colors to match the personality of your little one.
- Bowls and Containers: Toss the plastic and opt for stainless steel, ceramic, or wood bowls.
- Kangovou makes matching bowls with lids!
- Coffee makers: Skip the plastic brewer and get an Italian coffee press.
- Water bottles: Opt for a reusable water bottle that is made of steel.
- Sophie la Giraffe Teether
- Infanito Tub o’ Toys- Animals
- Wood toys not made in China
- Peek-A-Green Play Sets
- Apple Park Owl Teething Toys
Check out our blog post, The Season’s Best Eco-Friendly Baby Toys to learn more about BPA-free options that are safe for children to play with and put in their mouth!
The Simple Route:
We simply want the best for our families. Yet, there are so many products in our daily lives that contain hazardous plastics, which naturally makes it hard to live a plastic-free life. The best way to start countering the hazardous effects of BPA and other plastic chemicals is to start ridding the items we use to eat off of, such as plates, silverware, cups, and food storage containers.
BPA is a chemical that will leach more when it has been heated up and washed too many times. Opt for glass, stainless steel, ceramic, and wood in the kitchen. As for toys, we know that children learn from tasting everything they find, start finding BPA-free toys. Wood toys are also an excellent option, but can be a little harder for small children that tend to whack themselves in the head with their toys. Living a BPA-free lifestyle is hard, but with the right companies, you can make it happen.
Kangovou was the vision of two mothers who wanted safe products for their children to eat off of. With the experience as mothers and a strong vision, Kangovou was created in 2012. The mission of the company is to create versatile kid’s dishware sets that are made of high quality food-grade stainless steel, free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead and melamine. The complete sets are ethically manifested and reasonably priced. Every product has been kid tested and will not break when it is thrown or dropped from the high chair. As a parent, we all know that shatterproof dishware is essential for our little ones’ daily lives…and our very own sanity!
With that being said, what exactly are you waiting for? Check out all the products that Kangovou offers to keep your little ones’ BPA-free and healthy!