Almost everything around you is made of plastic. You see it in stores, at home, in the office and on vacation.
About 50 years ago, there was a major shift in the way this material is used, both in the global economy and in our everyday habits. The bad news is that plastic is now destroying our planet thanks to soil and water pollution.
In today’s article, we’re here to tell you why plastic is the silent killer and what you can do about it.
Plastic: does it improve or worsen our lives?
Plastic is a key component of our daily lives and an important product around the house.
You can find it in packaging or containers with food, in bowls or storage containers in your kitchen, in items that you use all the time. In short, it’s all the time around you.
While it is easy to believe that these plastic products that you use regularly improve your standard of living, in the medium and long term they pose a real threat to your health and the health of the planet.
To find out what kind of plastic you are most exposed to at home or at work, check the bottom of each container, where you will find a triangle and a number or a few letters in the middle.
Not all plastics cause the same degree of damage.
These are the most commonly used types of plastic:
PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
Because it is what is used to make plastic bottles, one can say that this is the most common plastic on the market today. Everything made using this material can only be used once.
Likewise, it can carry heavy metals and chemicals in its contents that disrupt the human hormones.
Also read: The three kinds of mind: What is yours?
HPD (high density polyethylene)
You could say that this is a “good” kind of plastic. Still, you should not lower your parades – it can still transport chemical products to your water or other contents.
LDP (low density polyethylene)
This type of plastic releases chemicals into your water and any other medium it is found in. It is used to make plastic bags or wraps for food.
PVC or 3V (polyvinyl chloride)
PVC emits two extremely toxic elements that can disrupt human hormone function. Although this side effect is well known, it is still commonly used in the manufacture of baby bottles.
This is another relatively “good” plastic that can be transparent or white in appearance. It is commonly used in the manufacture of syrup bottles, yogurt or cream bottle containers and the like.
This plastic is used in fast food containers and disposable coffee cups. It contains a compound that is thought to cause cancer (among other diseases).
This is the most dangerous type of plastic used with food because it secretes a substance that is very toxic to the body. The really bad news is that PC is the leading choice for making baby bottles and bottles for sports drinks.
At Miguel Hernandez University in Alicante (Spain), the researchers conducted a study to investigate a substance found in many objects made of polycarbonate: bisphenol A.
Toothbrushes, bottles and pacifiers (among other products) often contain this type of plastic, which according to the study can cause changes in the body’s metabolism of lipids and glucose in the bloodstream, which can lead to liver problems and diabetes.
It can also increase oxidative stress and cause cardiovascular disease.
Bisphenol A alters the function of your pancreas and leads to insulin resistance.
This may partly explain why there are so many people with diabetes in the world today ( in 2014, this disease affected 422 million people according to the World Health Organization).
This synthetic compound disrupts the body’s endocrine system, and yet it is not the only dangerous compound we are exposed to on a daily basis.
Lots of harmful substances are present in pesticides, which we later ingest through fruits and vegetables, as well as in the packaging of the products we eat every day.
It’s not just about what we eat, but also what we use: solvents, paints, adhesives and even dental fillings.
When it comes to bisphenol A, our exposure to it is enormous and we have been in contact with this drug since we were born (or even in the womb).
What other diseases do the toxins added to plastic cause? The list is scary because the number has only grown in the last 30 years.
- Cancer (breast, uterus, ovaries, cervix, brain, lung, prostate, liver)
- Uterine cysts, infertility and miscarriage
- Hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating
- Early puberty in children
- Penis deformity in little boys
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease and obesity
Also read: Environmentally friendly cleaning of your bathroom
How can you protect yourself from the dangers of plastic?
While the first thing you might come up with is to stop using all plastic, the truth is that it is almost impossible to do so. Why? The reason is simple and we have said it above… we are surrounded by it!
Still , there are certain steps you can take and habits you can change to reduce your exposure to these products and toxins, for your own health, for human, plant and animal health around you and for the sake of the environment:
- Avoid eating and drinking substances wrapped in plastic.
- Do not try to use plastic containers for storing, serving or heating food.
- Use glass or metal containers in the kitchen.
- Do not use canned beverages or foods.
- Choose baby bottles made of glass for your infant (though they may seem more dangerous if they should tip over and break).
- Do not buy flexible plastic toys and keep your children from chewing or sucking on them.
- Do not heat your food in a microwave oven if it has been stored in plastic.
- Release containers that are damaged or melted.
- Do not recycle plastic bottles for exercise or to get your two gallons of water a day.
- Do not chew on your pens or other plastic objects.
In this way, you not only prevent disease, but also help us stop the pollution of the planet.