We have used plastic unerringly for decades and never questioned its safety. It is uncomfortable to suddenly realize that the plastic we have in our kitchen cabinets has been releasing harmful chemicals into our bodies for years.
I’ve given away most of my plastic storage containers with warnings. “Do not put hot food in these containers. Let the food cool first.” Now I store left-overs in glass pickle, jelly and Ball jars. My friends have delighted in receiving the plastic containers. But it makes me feel guilty. I seriously admonish them to be careful. Once rid of the containers, I felt a little safer from that particular environmental threat. Then I discovered that food cans are lined with BPA. Can anyone escape from having a daily dose of BPA?
Bisphenol A (BPA), classified as an endocrine disruptor, is the culprit under fire. It is an environmental estrogen and can leach out of polycarbonate plastics into liquid or food that is placed in the container, especially the ones labeled No. 7 in the triangle on the bottom.
The release of BPA into polycarbonate water bottles, that we carry on long bike rides or sip from during meetings, is minimal. Only 0.2 to 0.8 nanograms are released per hour. But if the plastic is exposed to heat and/or boiling water, the release of BPA’s is 15 to 55 times faster. How many of us carry bottled water in our vehicles (that heat up like ovens when parked in the sun)?
Image via Hans of Pixabay. Click here to view his gallery.
U.S. News (July 23, 2008) reports that Bisphenol A has been blamed for a multitude of ills, including cancer. The magazine article,“Plastic People of the Universe“, collaborates with scientific proof in its report that “At the key stages of development, a seemingly infinitesimal dose of an estrogenic chemical such as BPA or phthalates may be life-altering…to fetuses.” (Discover, May, 2008) This is a five page article and scary to read. Yet, if you want to learn about the abnormalities that can occur in children even after birth, please read it. Accumulations in the bodies of adults of environmental estrogens are detrimental, also. The scientists working on BPA research use glass containers in their homes.
Plastics are not all bad. In fact, I’ve often wondered why automobile bodies are not made of plastic. Bike helmets are plastic so I know that plastic can be nearly indestructible. Since most of the energy a vehicle uses is to move its weight, wouldn’t it be better to have the body of a car made from plastic that is so much lighter than metal?
Plastic is made from the hydrocarbons in oil. As fossil fuels are depleted, the price of plastic will become, like so much else, exorbitant. Can’t you envision plastic miners in “haz-mat” outfits digging into landfills to recover discarded plastic? And here I was feeling good that I do not have copper pipe plumbing!
What does plastic, and the chemicals in them, have to do with our faith in God? As Christians we are called to take actions to increase our understanding and stewardship of God’s good Earth. Each of us must meet that challenge to save ourselves, our children, and to save God’s creation in his or her own way. “Lord, save us from our own folly.”
Proverbs 15: 21 “Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.”
September 2008 ©Ann Rains