I thought I was doing everything right – long ago I purged the house of any BPA-containing plastics, I’ve substituted Lunchskins for plastic bags in my kids’ lunches (OK, most of the time) and I’ve never microwaved food in plastic containers or with plastic wrap.
But a few weeks ago, I posted a story here on TLT that really disturbed me. Entitled “Scary News: Even Non-BPA Plastics Release Estrogen-Like Chemicals,” it described a study which showed that so-called “safe” plastics can undergo chemical changes during manufacture and/or when they come into contact with heat, food or beverages, causing them to sometimes release even more BPA than plastics known to contain BPA. One stressor that can cause BPA release is the dishwasher, where I almost always wash my own plastic containers.
Then, last week I read about a study in Environmental Health Perspectives which asked families to avoid all packaged foods (plastic and cans) for three days while their urine was monitored for BPA and phthalates. The study found that avoiding packaging caused a huge drop in levels of these chemicals in the subjects’ bodies (66% for BPA, on average, and 53-56% for phthalate metabolites), but when the families went back to their normal diets, the chemical levels in their bodies returned to their previously high levels almost immediately. (I guess the only moderately good news here, a point immediately touted by the metal packaging industry, is that the body does excrete these chemicals in urine rather than accumulating them in the body. Still . . . .)
Based on these two recent news items, I think I’m finally ready to give up the lightweight convenience of my plastic containers and ditch the Gladware for good.
You all were so helpful in solving my birthday treat dilemma that I’m going to again selfishly outsource my problems to you: do you have a glass or stainless home food storage system you like? If so, please share.
Or do you think I’m being alarmist? (If so, feel free to talk me down from the ceiling.)