Bisphenol-A (BPA) has received a lot of attention in the press of late due to its effects as an “endocrine disruptor”, which means that it disrupts your hormones in a number of different ways, from interfering with estrogen and testosterone to increasing weight gain and slowing metabolism. Because of that plastic products everywhere are now marketing themselves as “BPA-free”, but that’s not the only think you need to be watching for!
What they aren’t telling you is that plastic is full of another substance called “Phthalates” (pronounced THAL-ates), which are also endocrine disruptors, and just as problematic as BPA. Phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible, but they are not tightly bound to the plastic molecules. That means that these chemicals can leach off of the plastic and into your food, water, lotions, etc. The more flexible the plastic, the more phthalates will end up in your products (plastic wrap is one of the worst offenders). Heat also speeds up the process exponentially – heating up foods in plastic dishes, drinking from water bottles left in the car? You’re getting a not-so-healthy dose of phthalates.
Your best bet to avoid or minimize your exposure? Drink your water from a refillable, stainless steel bottle. Cook/reheat in metal, glass or ceramic dishes, and use tin foil instead of plastic wrap. When buying meat, get freshly wrapped meats in butcher paper rather than in the plastic wrap, and avoid “steam in bag” foods. When in doubt, stick with glass or metal to keep your body healthy!
Some conditions that could be worsened by phthalate exposure:
- Testosterone deficiency
- Weight Gain/Obesity
- Uterine Fibroids
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Phthalates have even been associated with birth defects in lab rats.