Tag Archives | plastics

Phthalates & BPA Chemicals ~ The Disappearing Male Documentary

Have you heard about the CBC documentary called The Disappearing Male? A completely fascinating study with experts contributing to the idea that the thousands of man-made chemicals produced in the last 100 years are contributing to boys suffering from a decrease in sperm production, sperm abnormalities, cancer, and genital deformities.  As a mother of two boys, I was totally glued to this 45 minute documentary.  I took notes throughout the film and would like to share the many things I learned.  This topic is so interesting because the 2 chemicals the documentary focused on are BPA and Phthalates – two chemicals I too believe need more attention than only being banned from baby bottles.  There are some scary statistics and harsh realities with watching this video, that I really believe all parents should watch.  Your awareness of how much plastic affects your health will be heightened.  To watch the two minute trailer click here.  Canadians, to watch the 45 min film click here.  Canadians and Americans, to watch the film in 5 chopped up clips, here is the link on YouTube.  I learned so much information, I’m spreading this topic over two Mommy Footprint articles ~ I feel so strongly about this topic and don’t want to overload with too much information within one article.

Part 1: What Is Happening To Boy’s Reproduction and The Human Experiment At Aamjiwnaang

According to the documentary The Disappearing Male, there is a growing body of evidence that something is wrong with the sexual health of human males worldwide.  In the last 50 years, sperm counts have been cut in half ~ scientists believe that boys today, produce 1/2 the sperm their fathers did.  Accompanied with increased rates of male infertility and testicular cancer more than doubled in recent years and why?  Scientists believe that man-made synthetic chemicals are to blame.  In the last 60 years, thousands of man-made compounds have been produced and most have not been tested for how they affect humans.  Examples of these chemicals are BPA, produced to make plastic hard and phthalates to make plastic soft.  It’s not only human scientists noticing these scary trends, but environmental scientists studying animals are finding the same thing…vastly reduced amounts of all male species when living in polluted habitats.  Continue Reading →

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Parabens – Moms Should Check Their Cosmetics

We have been learning about health concerns with personal products, toys, and plastics and protecting our children, but have you stopped to think about your own cosmetics?  I watched a video clip on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) web site that prompted me to check my own skin care line. If you are like me and attempt to read the ingredient lists of my personal products, I just wind up confused (and convinced that I need to take an English course because I can’t sound our most of the ingredients). Plus, as one of the scientific analysts for EWG stated, that reading the ingredients list if pointless unless you know what to look for. And they go on to say that half of our cosmetics contain an ingredient that is linked to reproductive problems or cancer.

Especially interesting from the video, was the scientist mentioning the chemical paraben.  I’ve seen it mentioned in various places, but didn’t know what the problem was.  Even at the Farmers Market last Sunday, I noticed a vendor selling non-toxic products and she was marketing them as ‘paraben free’. The simplest way I can explain the problems these two chemicals (phthalates and parabens) cause is that phthalates attack a boy/man’s reproductive system and cause an assortment of cancers and parabans attack a girl/woman’s reproductive system and cause female cancers. I thought that I only needed to worry about my boys with the problems that phthalates cause, but after watching this news video, I started checking my own personal product line and noticed many of them contain ingredients ending in ‘paraben’…isopropyl-paraben, isobutyl-paraben, butylparaben to name a few in my Paul Mitchell smoothing hair conditioner. Yikes!  I am also glad that I’ve replaced all personal care products for my girls with the non-toxic Trukid brand.  Especially after reading that parabens are reported to be carcinogens found in breast cancer tissue as well as the problems they cause with reproductive hormones.

More breast cancers in women?  More testicular cancer in men?  Are the chemicals the cause? This is the million dollar question. I’ll put in my two-bits to this debate. From the second I wrapped my mind around the issue with BPA, I knew there was something to the debate about this chemical. Why are so many young people we know battling infertility, MS, cancers, etc.? I think everyone agrees it’s environmental and I would add that the chemicals like BPA, Phthalates, and Parabens contribute to the many health issues that effect the child-bearing public. So, as mother’s especially, we are so diligent about protecting our children from harmful chemicals…maybe it’s time to look at our own personal products. You can check your products on the EWG’s cosmetic database by clicking this link. We need to make sure that we are keeping ourselves healthy as well as our children.  If you are like me, the more you learn, the more aware you are about these issues and it perpetuates around you.  I’m sure my family and friends are tired of hearing about these environmental concerns – but it’s getting us talking about it!  Spread the message of better health through your group of friends.

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Recycling Plastic And Resin Codes

I’ll admit I’ve never looked at the codes on the bottom of my plastics until I started trying to rid my household of plastics containing BPA.  While this began so I could eliminate a health concern for my children, I’ve since learned what these codes mean in the world of recycling.  Hopefully after reading this, some confusion will be eliminated so that people can start recycling the right types of plastic and realize how harmful plastic is to our environment.  

Resin codes are found on most plastic with the ‘chasing arrows’ surrounding them in a triangle shape.  These codes were created to classify plastic products.  The arrows are misleading because they duplicate the symbol for recycling, however, it’s not true that plastics marked with any resin code can be recycled.  

Most cities have their own recycling programs and govern which plastic resin codes they’ll accept at curb-side.  My community accepts a high number of resin numbers (1,2,4,5,6) and have different and appropriate departments where each plastic is recycled appropriately.   If a code 3 or 7 gets mixed into what a resident leaves out, that too gets sorted and put in the garbage, as there isn’t a recycling program for these two numbers.  Find out which resin codes your city takes and what it does with plastic that doesn’t have a recycling program.  Because all plastics have different melting points, it’s important to keep the different types separate because if recycled together, you wind up with goo.  

Worldwide recycling rates for plastics with resin codes  3-7 is around 1 percent.   Yikes!   NONE of type 7 plastics can be recycled.  

Key points from this information?    Remember that the little triangle made of arrows doesn’t always indicate recyclability for all codes.   Also, with such low percentages of all plastics being recycled, we should try to limit what we purchase in the first place.  

Charts and graphs normally confuse me, but the American Plastics Council gives a nice breakdown of the codes, their description, and examples of products produced from them. Continue Reading →

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BPA Plastics And My Love For Klean Kanteen

I’ve lost more than a little sleep knowing that I’ve commited the ultimate BPA leaching sin….the fact I’ve heated milk in plastic, in a microwave, everyday for the last 5 years.   Nothing like the never-ending cycle of  ‘parent’s guilt’.  All my kids love heated milk in the morning and before bed,  so eliminating plastics from their milk sippies was going to be harder than the water bottles.  The boys were nursed, then weaned to a cup just after turning 1 and I’ve heated their milk in plastic Gerber cups ever since. Yikes! Reheating liquid or food in plastic is the worst cause of BPA leaching so I know I’ve got some more changes to make!  We’ve always used Gerber ‘Fun Grips Color Change Spill Proof Cups’ so I called Gerber and they confirmed that style are BPA free,  but they’ve never recommended heating liquid in the container.  Thanks for letting me know this 5 years later guys!   I’m interested to know if that is stamped on their cardboard when you purchase the product…because until the BPA stuff became news, I had no idea you shouldn’t heat liquid or food in plastics.   That phone call made me feel better at some level, so  I decided to keep their Gerber sippies for milk for the short-term.  I have to say I don’t believe what the big names are saying about BPA in their products….it has taken some companies so long to react that unless the cups are made from a substance other than plastic (stainless steel, etc.) or the packaging is marked ‘BPA Free’ I don’t have faith. **Anyone have an alternative to plastic for kids that like milk heated?**   Although my Klean Kanteen bottles have just arrived, I don’t think the kids would enjoy a heated beverage in stainless steel every morning.

Can I mention that I LOVE my Klean Kanteen bottles?   They are gorgeous to the eye and their weight is very light.   My 6 year old would be able to use my 27 oz without any problems.  Any of the cons I listed in a previous article with my Thermos bottles are non existent with Klean Kanteen.   Their customer service is awesome,  you can purchase 100% stainless steel loop caps if you want to completely eliminate plastic, and they are very light for kids and toddlers to handle.   Oh yes, and something I didn’t know that was so important in my life…they can go in the dishwasher!   The tops and the bottles are dishwasher safe except the stainless poly loop caps.   I’m very happy with this brand and their products ranging from the sippy cups with avent tops for toddlers….to 18 oz, 27 oz, and 40 oz bottles for bigger kids/adults.

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