Monday, June 30, 2008

Seeking the non-toxic

Side note: I started writing this post and then realized it would work as a Kitchen Tip, so went to Tammy's Recipes to see if she had here meme up yet. It has been a while since I have been there, and was looking through her posts, and realized that last week she mentioned moving more to glass jars instead of plastic, so I guess this would have been more timely last week, but I wasn't thinking about it then, and I was gone most of the week.
So, now will have to do . . .

What's in my food? One important step in living a more healthy lifestyle involved (involves) removing toxins from our kitchen, house, and habits. I have worked to reduce my use of known toxins and replace them with more natural, safe alternatives. We use more glass jars to store left overs, glass and stoneware for baking, and avoid non-stick surfaces.

I have started investigating more about the plastics that we do still use, and I realized I have a lot of work to do yet. My cousin's wife posted a while back about getting a new Nalgene bottle to have one made of safer plastic (BPA free), and it got me to thinking.

What's on my shelves? With a little looking around, I found some great information and summaries on the studies and findings on various plastics that I use to store my food. I came across this blog posting that talks about the different plastics and gives some links to common products and their associated risks. I didn't realize that plastic wrap is on the dangerous list. I don't use it often, but will try to use it even less now, although Saran brand carries less of a risk.

What's in my grocery bag? Another site gives a great breakdown of each number category, what dangers you might find in that type of plastic, and what products often make use of that type of plastic. I sometimes fall into thinking frugal, and not healthful. When I get cheese from the deli I'm glad I don't have to repackage into a container at home. I hadn't thought about the chemicals present in that little baggie before. After reading more about the dangers of plastic, I want to start moving more of my food into safe containers (glass jars, #1 or #2 plastics) when I get home from the store rather than leaving them in the #3 wraps they may come in.

All this news on the toxins, both known and suspected, in the many plastics in use today makes me wonder about the growing health issues in society. I wonder how much plastic has played a role in these cases. I know far health concerns arise from the obesity issues that face our nation, but I would not be surprised if some link was found between the rampant plastic use in our disposable nation and various childhood conditions. One article said that, "In 95 percent of people tested, bisphenol A [BPA - found in various plastics] is detected at levels that could be harmful, the scientists said."

Makes you stop and think before you refill that water bottle while trying to do something good for the environment. Instead of paper or plastic, we need to be more concerned about "plastic or glass?"

Make mine glass, please.

For more great kitchen tips, check out Tammy's blog.


BarbaraLee said...

This is crazy. If all things are bad for us why are they making them? I could never understand this.

Mom2fur said...

I get what Barbaralee means. Really, on the one hand...what level of anxiety do we have to live at? On the other, better safe than sorry! I actually wrote down the 'bad plastic' numbers on a post-it and had it up on my fridge. So far as I can tell, it's #3, #6 and #7.
Why do they make them? Well, they probably didn't realize there could be a problem. And frankly, the problems are probably minimal (next to zero for most of the population). But it goes back to that safe vs. sorry thing...why take a chance, especially when there are children involved?
Yep, gimme glass any day! I love my mason jars!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Thanks for this great summary. I've been meaning to read up on plastics lately.

5intow said...

Glad this is helpful to many of you! I know I like finding things boiled down for memory's sake. What I am going off of right now is:
Bad/avoid: 3,6,7
OK/use sparingly: 4,5
seemingly safe: 1,2

I was pleased while shopping today to find that I did not come across any 3,6, or 7 except my big 5 gallon water jugs. Not sure what I will do about replacing those. I have a lot of 4,5 around, so will continue to work to use glass more often instead of those.

So many things we test initially and quickly make them part of our lives for convenience sake, and after longer studies realize that we jumped the gun in declaring their 'safety.'

Always looking to keep my babies safer.

Mrs. Taft said...

Thanks for the good information :) I found this to be very helpful!