Certainly you’ve heard of BPA (Bisphenol A) over the last few years – it’s an additive used to make plastics. I had read of its hormone-like properties and the associated dangers it posed because it is often used in plastic food containers. I did some reading and began phasing out as many plastics in the kitchen as possible. About this same time, I saw Bag It at the Heartland Film Festival (best week of the year in Indy!) with some friends. It is a very eye-opening documentary about the prevalence of plastics in our lives and the unforeseen consequences both for the greater environment and for us personally. It is on Netflix and at the local libraries. You should grab a copy, invite some friends over, and have your eyes opened. A few easy changes that we made after watching Bag It include:
- We like to party. So do a few of our friends. Rather than buy disposable party-ware, we and a few other couples share our reusable party goods, like plates, napkins, cups, silverware, etc. That way, we’re eliminating all of that disposable stuff, plus none of us has to own (and store) all of that stuff on their own.
- We compost, which eliminates tons of trash, which in turn eliminates the plastic bags that hold trash.
- We cloth diaper, which eliminates all of those plastic disposable diapers (and more trash bags). Check out our friends’ local cloth diaper shop/natural parenting store if you’re interested in learning more – they are the experts!
- We buy our soaps and shampoos from a local artisan, Herbal Arts, so as to avoid all of those nasty parabens and phtalates and other scary additives in most commercially-available products (plus, it’s like a visit to the spa every time I get to go to the store!).
- We bring our own bags every where, we’ve eliminated single-use items like napkins and paper towels, and we buy in bulk as much as possible.
- We garden and participate in CSAs and co-ops, which eliminates lots of single-use items in the process.
- I know there’s plenty more that we could do…what suggestions do you have?
All of this came to mind after reading Nicholas Kristof’s op-ed in last week’s NYT, in which he discusses some new research regarding endocrine-disrupting chemicals (like BPA):
Just this month, a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that endocrine disruptors that are sometimes added to PVC plastic cause mice to grow obese and suffer liver problems — and the effect continues with descendants of those mice, generation after generation.
Another study found that women with a pesticide residue in their blood bore babies who were more likely to be overweight at the age of 14 months.
Dr. Blumberg, the pioneer of the field, says he strongly recommends that people — especially children and women who are pregnant or may become pregnant — try to eat organic foods to reduce exposure to endocrine disruptors, and try to avoid using plastics to store food or water. “My daughter uses a stainless steel water bottle, and so do I,” he said.