By Larry Pleasant
This month’s special ingredient is “Plastics in the Food and Water Supply.” People often ask me which plastics are the “bad” ones and which ones are safer to have in contact with our food and water and baby bottles. Let me make it easy for you. The short answer about any of the plastics you or I are going to find in our everyday lives and markets is NONE! However, if you MUST use plastics HDPE is your safest bet. Choose the translucent version rather than the white or colored bottles if you have a choice.
In a snapshot here’s what’s up with plastics.
Plastics are made from chemicals that migrate into food and liquids. They do not stay in the plastic. Freezing or heating plastics, or just exposure over time, dramatically accelerate the process of moving plastic chemicals into your food and drink. When you eat or drink food stored and cooked or nuked in plastic you are eating plastic.
Some plastics are made from Bis-Phenol-A. This is widely recognized as a carcinogen and estrogen mimicker found in the epoxy resin lining of nearly all canned food products, clear hard polycarbonate plastics and on your sales receipts and thermal fax paper. Nearly 95% of Americans have BPA in their bodies right now. They are being phased out of the food supply as No.7 plastic packaging but still leach out of PVC water pipes and numerous other sources.
The wide-ranging phthalate chemical family are plasticizers found in PET (#1), vinyl, PVC and PEX water pipes, water hoses, raincoats, many adhesives, and most hospital IV tubes and bags; and this is just a start. Nearly 100% of Americans have phthalates in their bodies right now. Phthalates do not cause cancer. They ARE potent estrogen mimickers busily turning our males into metro-men and increasing the risk for sex-organ-related cancers for both men and women. Phthalates love fat even more than they love water so our bodies have no trouble soaking them up and storing them.
On the positive side your body now takes an estimated 14 years to rot in the ground, double the time it took to rot 25 years ago. If the trend continues we could achieve a kind of plasticized museum-like immortality. Forget that ashes-to-ashes stuff. Just prop grandma up in her favorite chair and leave her there for the next decade as a conversation piece.
There is also a growing body of reliable scientific evidence that phthalates cause dramatic increases in the rates at which cancer cells reproduce. As in 40 times faster. I like to think of them as Miracle Gro™ for cancer.
So the picture here is that we Americans are swimming in tumor-inducing molecules every single day. At the same time our bodies are saturated with Miracle Gro™ for cancer.
How are you going to change your life in relation to this information? Are you going to be one of the 29% of Americans that will NOT get cancer?
We were given a free hand upon this planet and we have nearly blown it after only a couple of hundred years of Progress. This civilization is being run like a car full of drunken teenagers on spring break.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to eat some bark and berries and go buy some solar panels.
Larry Pleasant is a writer, philosopher, part-time farmer and soap maker living and working in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Learn more at vermontsoap.com.