Everywhere I look I am surrounded by the stuff. I am on a mission to not let it come into the house. Here in Christchurch we can recycle harder plastics but soft plastic wrap goes into the refuse for landfill. And despite my efforts our family refuse bins get pretty full every 2 weeks with plastic.
Why do I want to live plastic free?
To be kind to the environment? Yes absolutely! But the other driver is that I want my Xenoestrogens to be minimal, in me and my family. Lovely word, pronounced ‘zenno estrogens’.
Why are more boys developing breasts and girls hitting puberty at age 9 now?
And why are Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer on the rise?
Why is endometriosis so common, affecting as many as 1 in 5 girls and women?
A big reason is we have more estrogen circulating in our bodies than ever. When estrogen goes too high we are more prone to reproductive cancers and endometriosis.
Don’t get me wrong, estrogen is a wonderful reproductive hormone we need for ovulation and wellbeing. We make most of it in our ovaries, fat tissue and a little in our adrenal glands. But our levels are higher than ever and in many cases we have too much of a pro-cancer form of estrogen which is not a good thing.
Some women make more estrogen than ideal, particularly if body fat levels are higher, as our fat tissue makes the hormone.
Additionally many women are not getting rid of old estrogen properly. The liver is not keeping up with detoxification and we can end up with estrogen recycling back into the blood stream, rather than it being excreted via the intestine. And of concern particularly is if we circulate higher levels than ideal of 4-OH and 16-OH estrogen.
But do you know a major source of estrogen comes from plastic acting as an estrogen hence why it’s called ‘ xeno’, as it is mimicking the real stuff. BPA ( Bisphenol A) in plastic is one of the major culprits. Others are PCBs and Pthalates.
Xenoestrogens can also come from industrial waste discarded into rivers. In the UK they found down stream the fish were developing both female genitals in addition to male genitals. So now the fishermen couldn’t tell whether a fish was one or the other!
At home in the kitchen one of the major sources of xenoestrogens is BPA in plastic and it can particularly seep into fat and oil very easily. So it is vital to watch how you store and cook foods especially if they contain fat and oil.
Check for these offenders in the kitchen
- Meat and ham in plastic wrap
- Cheese in plastic wrap; single slices and blocks of cheese
- Margarine in plastic tubs
- Peanut butter in plastic jars
- Cooking oil in plastic bottles
- Mayonnaise and salad dressings in plastic containers
- Cream cheese, cottage cheese in plastic
- Ice cream in plastic containers
- Milk in plastic bottles
- Plastic drinks bottles
- Hummus and dips in plastic containers
- Sushi and sashimi wrapped in plastic
- Lunch wrapped in plastic wrap / glad wrap or cling film
Here are some tricks to reduce the plastic and xenoestrogens in our lives
- Buy butter in foil or wrap in baking paper.
- Buy cheese in paper or when you get home wrap into paper or store in a glass container at home.
- Buy peanut and other nut butters in glass.
- Buy cooking oil, salad dressings and mayonnaise in glass.
- Ideally we would have milk sold in glass bottles again! I am looking at buying organic raw milk from farm gate sales and this can go straight into glass bottles in my fridge.
- Buy cold meat loose and ask if it can be wrapped in paper. When you get home, place it in glass.
- Buy fish loose from the deli counter or fish shop and store in a glass container or on a plate in the fridge.
- Store all chilled food in glass or ceramic containers. You can buy glass storage containers with a plastic snap lock lid and avoid the plastic touching food.
- Buy glass containers for snack lunches or use the new cloth wraps for sandwiches.
- Re-heat food in glass or ceramic and don’t use plastic wrap over food in the microwave. Cover with a plate.
- For the environment use cloth recycled bags for shopping.
- Buy your fruit and vegetables loose and then gently place in shopping bag at the check out, with no need for plastic bags.
- Buy drinks bottles that are BPA free or even better made from glass or metal (your local health or yoga shop will usually sell them).
- DO NOT let your drinks bottle get warm.
- Do not leave your plastic drinks bottle in the car or clean in the dishwasher, as the plastic leaches into water when warm.
- Use non-stick cooking pots and pans in place of Teflon coated pans and cooking trays. I use Le Crueset pans as they are coated in enamel but stainless steel is another alternative.
What else can we do to reduce xenoestrogens? Watch out for other xenoestrogens in bathroom products…Do share your tips and tricks.
Laura Manson says
Thank you for posting this about the dangers of plastic. I recently got some amazing food wraps that are re-usable and are made from cloth and waxed with natural beeswax. They are pretty cool, but I am yet to convince the children (they were teased by the other kids about the wrapper AND about the yummy half apple filled with peanut butter.) I like them, however, as a survivor of breast cancer I want to eliminate as much of this ca-ca as I can.
Clarice Hebblethwaite says
I love those wraps too and great for cheese at home in the fridge. Shame kids are not ready to embrace them- hopefully soon they will become more popular.