Shortcuts to Eliminate Plastic Health Risks

Plastics were supposed to make our lives easier.  And, they certainly have in a lot of ways.  But, now, they have actually made our lives a little more complicated.  Some of the components in them, as it turns out, are not good for us to be exposed to, and the labeling of plastic ingredients is not required in all cases, making it complicated to maneuver around plastic usage choices.  And those plastics create a huge complicated heap in our landfills, too. Yes, not so easy after all, but I am here to help filter through all that. Read on!

Plastic is everywhere and in everything! But, as miraculous as it can be, some plastics may pose health risks. Find out here which ones do and how to easily avoid them in your everyday life!



Plastic and Why It May Harm


Plastic has been around a while. In fact, the first manmade plastic made an appearance in 1855. But it was not until after World War I, that improvements in chemical technology led to an explosion of them. Mass production began around the 1940s and 1950s. And we have never looked back. Plastic is everywhere and it is in everything:  textiles, bottles and jars, food packaging, toys, receipts, electronics, cars and trucks, and plumbing parts to name a few.

But, as miraculous as they can be, in more recent years, information like this has shed some light on some not so miraculous ways suspect components of plastics like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates can possibly harm us. Scan on down and see what I mean:
  • BPA acts as a synthetic estrogen that could disrupt the human hormone system, causing various health effects, some of them very serious.
  • Phthalates may cause a wide range of adverse health problems including liver, kidney and lung damage as well as reproductive system and sexual developmental abnormalities.
  • Phthalates have also been classified as a probable human carcinogen.




How to Easily Avoid Bad Plastic Additives


There are ways to work around these negative plastic issues, though.  Try incorporating these few easy ways to outsmart those plastics and greatly reduce your exposure to the harmful additives:

1.  Heat and plastic are not a good match. 

Avoid foods and liquids heated in plastic containers.  This includes plastic baby bottles. There are loads of inexpensive alternatives like glass, ceramic or stainless-steel containers instead.  Heating plastics in high temperatures in an oven or microwave oven leaches chemicals out of the containers and into the food or liquid they hold.

If you choose to use frozen food or you freeze food you made and need to reheat it, defrost the food item for a bit to loosen it in the container and then place the food in another safe container before heating in the oven.  Never heat food in those plastic containers provided by food manufactures.

2.  Remove your wrap. 

Always remove plastic wrap before thawing or heating foods.  Or, don't use it at all.

3.  Note the storage. 

Avoid purchasing foods stored in plastic of all kinds.  (I know this one can be difficult.) If there is a choice,  purchase food items stored in glass and cardboard containers only. This goes for canned food, too. BPA has been found in the lining of the cans and it leaches onto the food item.

4.  Find the sponge. 

Wash all safe plastic food containers or baby bottles by hand. Do not put in the dishwasher as the heat produced by the machine may cause chemicals to release.

Don't miss this:  How to clean-up and get out of the kitchen faster each night to allow more time for a fun-filled evening.

5.  Toss the old and scratched. 

Throw out old plastic containers and especially unsafe plastics (see step 9.)  As plastic containers age, they release more chemicals. Don't use scratched-up plastic containers, either. Damaged plastics may leak more chemicals

6.  Avoid plastic toys.

Steer away from plastic toys, especially the ones with codes discussed in section below.  Be careful at yard sales as older plastic toys you may be considering may contain BPA or phthalates.

7.  Peek into the bathroom cabinets. 

Check all personal care products that are free of synthetic fragrance as that increases exposure to phthalates.  The FDA requires the listing of ingredients but not individual fragrance ingredients. Phthalates are also used in many nail polishes. Be sure to check those too.

Make sure to switch out any plastic shower curtain or plastic liners for cloth linters to avoid exposure to plastic in them that the heat of the shower creates.

Don't miss this: Tips for easy, natural nail care to keep your hands and feet looking their best.

8.  Fabric choices count. 

Choose natural fiber clothing.  Plastic type additives in iron-free or teflon clothing can expose you to unwanted chemicals.  Waterproof can also be a concern.

9.  Learn some code.

See the section below to see which plastics to especially back away from after checking the symbol codes on the containers.


Those triangle symbols on the bottom of those containers actually mean something, and some of those recycling codes should be avoided! Tap here to learn which ones can harm your health and a great little trick to remembering ones to avoid.

Recycling Codes and What They Mean


Turn those plastic items over and take a peek! Those triangle symbols usually placed on the bottom of containers actually mean something.  There is good and there is bad.  Let's go with the good first, but don't forget to read my little trick at the bottom of this section to easily remember ones to avoid:





















 These code numbers are considered safe, until we hear otherwise:
  • Recycling code number 1 (PETE) 
  • Recycling code number 2 (HDPE)
  • Recycling code number 4 (LDPE)
  • Recycling code number 5 (PP)
And . . . 

These code numbers are ones to avoid:
  • Recycling code number 3 may indicate it contains a phthalate called DEHA.  Please, no.  This code can be seen on food items, toys, shower curtains, window cleaner, shampoo, medical equipment and construction items.
  • Recycling code number 6 or Styrofoam are in disposable plates and cups, egg cartons, carry-out foods, meat trays.  There are really hard to recycle, too.  
  • Recycling code number 7 may indicate it contains BPA. This code can also be interpreted as the  "miscellaneous" plastic,  as under this number you may see various types of plastics, including those found in baby bottles, large water bottles, 'bullet-proof' materials, sunglasses, computer cases, food containers and nylon.  Some of these are safe but some may be not safe. Best to avoid it.
Memory Tip:  To simplify, stay away from 3, 6 and 7 recycling codes, or as I try to remember it: 


3 (x 2) which is 6, plus 1, which is 7.

Plastics are here to stay.  Just look at our landfills.  But, if you must use them, please be smart and do make it a lot less complicated.

Need More?


  • Check out the Health News Column here for the latest studies and discoveries that could help you or your family.
  • Sleep is imperative to health. See what this study says. 















18 comments:

  1. Awesome tips! I have been trying to reduce the plastic use in our daily lives!

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    1. Bravo! Glad to hear it, Annmarie. It really is simple with a few switches and steps. Thanks for coming by!

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  2. This is fantastic! I am so excited to have found you via VA Bloggers! Thanks for the info and I hope to share on my fanpage later today.

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    1. Happy to hear you stumbled here, too! And, I appreciate the share very much!

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  3. Thank you for these tips! I've been trying to use more glass, metal, and silicone if possible. My children know it's not okay to put plastic in the microwave. Baby steps, but we're at least on the path. :) #homemattersparty

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    1. Great you are becoming aware. That is always the first step. These other tips really are simple once you get into the habit. Good luck getting your family on board! Thanks so much for taking the time to add in here.

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  4. A great article, I like your formula for remembering the codes. I always forget which is which. I should remember now. I try to at least limit plastic use too.
    Kathleen
    Fridays Blog Booster Party #20

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    1. Thanks Kathleen! So happy to hear you will be able to remember the codes more easily! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  5. I've been getting away from plastic more and more... I stire things in the freezer but I heat on ceramic dishes or warm it up in a pot. I spent too many years trusting plastic makers. I am grateful that I nursed both my daughters so that I never used plastic baby bottles... great tips here xox

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    1. Thanks so much, Launna! Always nice to hear from you and it sounds like you are doing a good job of it!

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  6. This was very informative. Thank you! I will definitely remember 3, 6, 7! Recycling is a huge part of our lives and we try to reduce the amount of plastic we use as much as possible. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

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    1. Good for you, Michelle! Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your thoughts.

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  7. Wow! There are a lot of things I didn't know in this post. I'll make sure I check yours on kitchen cleaning too.
    I used to put all my food in plastic containers when it was warm, but I stopped it some years ago.
    Thank you really much for sharing it on #TipTuesday. I always learn a lot from your blog.

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    1. Debbie - so glad you learned something here. That means a lot! And your kind comments are always, always appreciated.

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  8. EEEk never realize the dangerous not sure if I feel informed or more paranoid now hahahah Great post as always. Thanks for linking to Share With Me I hope to see you again soon #sharewithme

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    1. Ha! Don't get paranoid! These easy precautions should keep you in good shape, Jenny, and they will become second nature! Thanks so much for coming by!

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  9. Thank you for the great tips!

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