Safe Plastics – IF there really are safe plastics! But, if you must use plastic at least be educated on the different types
Safe Plastics – IF there really are safe plastics! But, if you must use plastic at least be educated on the different types
Did you know…
According to the EPA, carcinogens average 10 times more potent for kids than adults – and in some cases, 65 times more potent – at the same dose that adults get. And kids typically get higher does. Adults eat about 1/40th of their body weight each day; kids eat 1/10th of theirs. Pound for pound, kids eat, drink and inhale a lot more fumes than adults.
When we remodeled our condo I really wanted to purchase the VOC-free paint but I couldn’t convince Eric it was worth the price or worth sacrificing style in the fact that the line at HD never seemed to have the perfect color for what we were doing. I just read the following from the Ask The Science Man column on Seventh Generation’s website – from now on I will definitely purchase the low VOC-paint – I’m convinced it is worth the money!
Most conventional products have a high VOC content which increases your risk of certain health effects. VOC exposure has been associated with asthma, ‘sick-building-syndrome’ (a phenomenon in which building occupants experience acute health and/or comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a particular building) and respiratory and lung infections. Most people spend 90% of their time indoors, yet indoor air is up to 10 times more polluted than your ambient outdoor air (even if you live in the city). Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep your house well ventilated during any VOC emitting activity (i.e. painting, cleaning, installing carpets, etc.).
The value in choosing low-VOC or VOC-free alternatives in any product is avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals. Consider this decision comparable to choosing to buy organic foods in order to avoid ingesting pesticides. You breathe 20-40 pounds of air a day, much more than the amount of food you eat! Consider your long-term exposure as well. VOCs are emitted at high concentrations during product application, but will also continue to be emitted at lower levels over time. Fabrics and other materials in your house absorb any VOC emitted indoors, thus retaining them and releasing them into the air you breathe. There is research that supports using low-VOC products to significantly improve the indoor air quality of your home. Therefore, I believe it would be worth spending the extra money for VOC–free paint.
will also react with ozone to form secondary pollutants, including formaldehyde – known to be a human carcinogen.VOCs emitted from paint (and other conventional household and building products) contribute to greenhouse gases, smog formation, and ozone depletion. Some VOCs, formaldehyde, lead and/or chlorine. Certain ethers, glycol terpenes are typically related to consumer products containing traces of VOCs have harmful effects on the environment and human health. The negative environmental impacts and health effects from VOCsThere is plenty of scientific evidence supporting the claim that
Non-stick cookware, which helps us avoid unhealthy fats when we cook, may actually raise our cholesterol levels. Researchers found that people with higher levels of non-stick polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs) in their bloodstreams also had higher levels of non-HDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
You’ve probably never thought about it this way, but if you’re using conventional products you’re covering your body in chemicals – new year = new products – make the switch now for a healthier new you!
Revealed… the 515 chemicals women put on their bodies every day
Is he serious??? The mayor of Moscow is planning to change mother nature and attempt to chemically keep the snow away from his city this winter. This really can NOT be good for the environment and the health of of the citizens of Moscow and however further outside of Moscow the chemicals travel. Check out the article in Time for all of these crazy details. Hey – I get sick of the snow too but I think it is WRONG to chemically stop the snow from falling – I can only imagine what the long term affects are to the environment and citizens and I also wonder how far these chemicals are likely to travel through the air – meaning – will people in other countries be affected by this? That may be a little extreme thinking but I’m sure the chemicals are likely to travel through the air to many surrounding cities.
In an August 31 article in Chemical & Engineering News,Sarah Everts addresses the toxic chemicals that leach from food and drug packaging into the actual product we’re ingesting. We know plastic isn’t great but since with glass you normally have a rubber seal on the top – that rubber seal is a concern. Even the ink on packaging leaches!
“You will always have leachables,” says Guirag Poochikian, a retired U.S. Food & Drug Administrationregulator who used to evaluate leachables from inhaler devices. “The question is ‘What are they, and what is their safety margin’ ” in humans?
“The common feature of all potential solutions to the leachables problem is that they cost money—sometimes several times the price of the components they replace. It remains to be seen whether consumers are willing to pay more for expensive packaging that reduces leaching into their food and drugs.”
By robin – September 21, 2009 (Seventh Generation’s 7 Gen Blog)
Your air, that is. Visit your local retailer for great deals on Seventh Generation products starting this week. As winter approaches, we open our windows less, trapping polluted air inside our homes. The easiest way to keep your home healthy is to use all-natural cleaning products that won’t leave behind harmful chemical residue or pollute indoor air. Here are 9 more ways to clear the air this fall.
- Open your windows! EPA research has found that indoor air can contain levels of pollutants 2-5 times higher than the air outside.
- Place welcome mats near your doors to remove particles and pollutants carried in on shoes.
- Use natural cosmetic, personal care, and feminine hygiene products. Conventional versions of these products often contain many untested and unregulated chemicals.
- Dust with a damp cloth to collect and remove dust instead of stirring it back into the air.
- Use paper products made from unbleached or non-chlorine bleached recycled paper, which help prevent waste, deforestation, and the pollution created by traditional paper manufacturing.
- Store food in #1, #2, #4, or #5 plastic containers, which are less likely to leach unsafe chemicals. Never heat food or serve hot food in plastic of any kind.
- Use a chlorine-free dishwasher detergent to keep your dishwasher’s steam free of unhealthy chlorine vapors.
- When it’s time to buy new home furnishings, choose those made from solid wood — not pressed woods and particleboard — which often use glues that emit formaldehyde vapors.
- Stay informed. When it comes to ideas for healthy homes, there are always useful new things to learn. Share your ideas below.
Skin Deep is an awesome database that I frequently utilize to find out what is in certain products how how safe it is for use on my body. Start with the cosmetics you currently have to find out their level of toxicity. If you find that your products are not worthy of your skin it will be time to do some shopping. Make a list of the new products you’ve been wanting to try and then head back to the database to search and see if they’re any better. I’ve made several product recommendations on this site so you may want to give them a try. They’re not perfect either though, in fact you’re not really going to find anything that is not at all a risk but look for stuff with the lowest numbered rating and give it a try. The only way to avoid all chemicals to to not wear make-up and for example to use safflower oil as a moisturizer all over your face and body. I see a lot of criticism out there about supposed “green” beauty products and cosmetics not being so “green” after all. I think the key is to realize that the safest thing is to not use commercial products at all and use food/plants to take care of your skin. Cosmetics are artificial – not natural so no matter how much of them come from natural ingredients, the manufacturer will likely have to use something synthetic for color or as a preservative. If you’re not into being ultra natural and going without or using an oil for moisturizer, then you’re going to take some type of a risk. Use this database to make the decisions that are right for you.
Seventh Generation’s website has a great article on plastic – complete with a guide on which types are safer than others. I use as little plastic as possible in my kitchen. I store left over food in glass containers – old jars work great! (peanut butter, mayo, jam, etc) I’ve pasted the guide below but please read the entire article
- #1 PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate ethylene) is a common plastic used to package a variety of foods and drinks. PETE is considered a safe, non-leaching plastic, even though some studies have found that it can release the toxic metallic mineral antimony over time, especially when subjected to heat.
- #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene) is another common plastic used for milk and water jugs, dairy product tubs, and plastic bags. HDPE is not known to leach toxins.
- #3 PVC or V (polyvinyl chloride) is found in plastic wrap, especially commercial varieties used to package deli and similar items. These plastics use hazardous compounds called phthalates to maintain their pliability. Phthalates have been found to easily leach out of PVC products. PVC can also release a material called di-(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA) when in contact with fatty foods. The use of #3 plastics is not recommended.
- #4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene) is used for bread and frozen food bags, squeezable bottles, other types of packaging, and reusable containers. It is not known to leach toxins.
- #5 PP (polypropylene) is found in bottles and food tubs, and reusable containers. It is not known to leach toxins.
- #6 PS (polystyrene) is often found in foamed food containers. It can leach a number of chemicals into foods and is not recommended in the kitchen.
- #7 OTHER is a catch-all category that includes everything else. One common #7 plastic is polycarbonate, a shatter-resistant material used in things like baby bottles and reusable water bottles. Polycarbonates readily leach a toxic compound called bisphenol-a (BPA) into food and drink. But new corn-based polylactic acid (PLA) plastics, which are generally recognized as safe, are also labeled #7. It can be hard to tell if a given #7 container is kitchen-safe without additional identifying information, so look for bottles that say they are BPA-free.
To sum up: types 1, 2, 4, and 5 are generally safe to use. Types 3 and 6 should be avoided. And Type 7 is a definite “it depends.”
Of course, there are certain circumstances under which no plastic is safe to use. Heat, harsh detergents, and old age all promote the degradation of plastics and the leaching of compounds they contain. Here are our rules for using plastics safely in the kitchen:
- Never microwave any food in any plastic of any kind, including so-called plastic wraps and “microwave safe” containers. Transfer microwaveable foods to a safe glass or ceramic alternative before heating — even if the label says the original container can be used. The term “microwave-safe” only means the plastic in question won’t become visibly damaged when heated — not that it won’t leach!
- Don’t serve or store hot foods, acidic foods, or foods with a high fat or oil content in plastic containers of any kind as these types of edibles are more likely to encourage leaching. Use glass, metal, or lead-free ceramics instead. A simple storage system can be created with any bowl and a similarly-sized plate used as a lid.
- Avoid the temptation to save and reuse commercial food packaging and drink bottles, which are not designed for repeated uses and become more prone to leaching with repeated cleanings.
- When reusable plastic containers made from #4 and #5 plastic become heavily worn or scratched, retire and recycle them.
- Always wash plastic containers by hand, with warm water and mild dish liquid. Keep them out of the dishwasher.
- Avoid putting cling wraps in direct contact with food. Instead, use unbleached wax paper or a safe container.
- Plastic sandwich and food storage bags are typically made from polyethylene, which is considered non-toxic. However, we were unable to find any data verifying the safety of washing and reusing such bags. Since this practice could potentially make them prone to leaching, we can’t recommend it. Instead, we prefer wax paper bags or reusable solutions like the SnackTaxi, the Wrap-n-Mat, or the alternatives at ReusableBags.com.
- Practice precaution and use only glass bottles for infant feedings.
- When it comes to buying cling wrap and reusable food containers, purchase only those that tell you exactly what type of plastic they’re made from. National Geographic’s Green Guide offers a buying guide you can use to make healthier choices.