PLASTICS: which ones to avoid, and why!

You’re likely aware that plastics are harmful to your health. They have phenomenally long half-lives, and don’t break down in the body, causing ongoing damage.

Look on the bottom of your bottle, and see the number in the little triangle. Look carefully at this graphic, because the  numbers aren’t consecutive. The worst grades of plastic are 6, 3, and 7.

A 7 is the worst grade of plastic, and most labeled 7 contain the most infamous chemical in plastics: Bisphenol A (BPA).

Water and other liquids leach BPA. This endocrine-disruptor chemical can do crazy things to your hormones. The U.S. finally banned the chemical in baby bottles, after the European Union and Canada did. Wiki says a study found BPA in 96% of pregnant women. It’s been linked to obesity, breast and prostate cancer, and ADHD.

Please don’t use old baby bottles or any other plastic that isn’t BPA free that comes into contact with your food or water. More and more companies are making their plastics without BPA, including Blendtec’s blender jars. But our FDA continues to support the use of BPA in cans, including drinks, and infant formula!

Another chemical to avoid is PVC (polyvinyl chloride), known as vinyl, which contains phthalates, known to cause birth defects in baby boys, testicular cancer, infertility, and asthma. PVC plastics are labeled with the 3 triangle.

So, anything you use that’s plastic, make sure it’s labeled 1, 2, 4, or 5.

Our GreenSmoothieGirl bottles, of course, are BPA free, vinyl free, and phthalate free.

Storing green smoothies: BPA in plastics [part 2 of 2]

I was recently in a conversation where a 23-year old adult said,  regarding this topic, “If I don’t drink bottled water, where will I get it?”   She was totally serious.   Back in the olden days (before water bottles but after the wheel was invented), we used to fill a reusable water bottle or cup at the sink or from the pitcher in the fridge or water cooler or fountain at work.   Soccer moms took a 2-gallon cooler with paper cups to the game.

A popular email goes around constantly about how a Johns Hopkins newsletter stated that Sheryl Crow’s breast cancer was caused by dioxins leaching into the bottled water she drank.   Sheryl Crow doesn’t know what caused her breast cancer any more than anyone else can isolate one factor like that (out of so many in our daily environment).   The watchdog sites like truthorfiction.com and snopes.com were quick to repudiate the story.   This should not, however, be taken as evidence that plastics are perfectly safe.

While this email has no accuracy, and highly dangerous dioxins do not leach from plastic into water, other toxic chemicals like phthalates do.   Avoid bottled drinking water, which often contains more chemicals in the water than tap water does.   It may be convenient, but taking five seconds to fill our own water container not only saves us from drinking chemicals, it also decreases the impact on the environment.   Currently well over 1 million drinking water bottles DAILY are filling up our municipal garbage piles.

My town of 10,000 people ships its garbage to Price, Utah, two hours away, because our landfills are full.   One of the biggest-impact and lowest-sacrifice things we can do to ameliorate that situation is to SWEAR OFF BOTTLED WATER.

The best thing to put your green smoothie in is a simple canning jar.   No leaching of anything.   The only bad thing is that you have to be careful not to break it.

Storing green smoothies: BPA in plastics [part 1 of 2]

Dear Green SmoothieGirl: What should I store my green smoothie in?   I’ve read that certain chemicals in bottled water and other plastic items leach into my food.

Answer:   A government study by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) in Washington, D.C. recently uncovered a surprising (and unnerving) finding.   The plastic lining used by manufacturers of metal food cans have more bisphenol-A (BPA) than plastic containers do.   BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical that is linked by research to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and neurological problems for babies exposed in utero, among other things.   Cans that test to have the highest BPA levels are chicken soup, infant formula, and canned pastas.   And, the FDA says the average American eats about 17 percent canned foods.   The longer a can sits on the shelf, the more leaching occurs in the food.   And when a container is heated, more chemical is released into the food as well.

What can we do about this?

I believe that eventually the BPA will be removed from cans.   But in the meantime, the first tip is that Eden Foods, a maker of organic items found mostly in health food stores, has BPA-free cans, if you can afford a pricier product.

Second, we can make more of our own food (like soups and beans) and keep cans around for only food storage and emergencies.   Cook the beans you use a lot and freeze them in 2-cup amounts for later use.   Some foods you buy in cans can be purchased in glass jars (spaghetti sauce, for instance).

Third, store your green smoothies in glass pint or quart jars.   I have always done this.   The downside is that if you drop it, glass shatters.   It’s not as convenient as some drink containers for taking in the car and putting in the car’s drink holder, either.   You can obtain stainless steel containers, too.   With either of those options, you will have no chemicals leaching into your food.   And keep in mind that the best way to keep your body removing toxins like BPA from sources we just can’t control is . . . to drink green smoothies.   The insoluble plant fiber in greens mops up several times its own weight in toxins and removes it from the body.

Fourth, you can google “BPA free” and buy baby bottles and other items free of toxic synthetics.  

More tomorrow about what to store green smoothies in, plastics, and the Sheryl Crow email.