Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Plastics and You!

It's become painfully apparent since I started this green living journey just how entangled we are with plastics in our lives and just what a mammoth task it is to remove it from our lives.

I had done quite a bit of research on plastics before Henry was born, especially since toxic chemicals can have such a great impact on a baby's life in that early stage when so much growing and physical/mental  development is occurring. There were the usual suspects, PVC, labeled #3 or V on the bottom of plastic containers (truly - Blue Vinyl was highly entertaining and comical, but the factoids were absolutely frightening - a must-see for anyone curious about PVC) and avoided any PVC products, especially those that would go into Henry's mouth, i.e. vinyl chew toys, which, by the way, can contain phthalates (hormone disrupting chemicals that can alter testicular development AND cause liver and kidney damage - great stuff. Reports show that some plastic toys produced in China can contain up to 55% phthalates! (I have a whole separate issue about plastics or any children's accessory coming from China but that is a book-long post for another day; just ask Cin how long it took us to buy a safe bathtub for Henry. It was ridiculous). But back to PVC, PVC can also contain BPA, which we know is a definitely a not-suitable-for-kids product.

Other plastics include Type 7, which is a catch-all "other" class but most are made from the BPA monomer. Plastics labeled 2 (high-density polyethylene), 4 and 5 have not been found to transmit any harmful chemicals into your food (but given how many times we've been wrong with plastics thus far and the fact that we've only been using plastics well within the last century, I would say that if the jury's still out, I'm not one to bet my son's life on it). PET, or number 1, used in water and soda bottles, is safer, but has been found to leach its own chemicals especially when heated (i.e. laid out under the sun) or over a long period of time.

If you'd like more info, and would like some solutions after I've properly scared you, check out this article that I found helpful when I was doing research a few years ago from Mindfully.org: 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this article! We've managed to avoid most of the plastic toys people tend to buy for babies, and K has mainly wooden and material toys, and this just makes me all the happier for it!