Plastics: Don’t Microwave, or Place in the Dishwasher

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

It’s been just a little over a year since I started writing regularly about the problems posed by plastics (see Plastic Free July: What YOU Can Do to Reduce Plastics Waste). My interest in this subject arose from a more general concern over waste and our throwaway culture– something I first discussed in the context of fast fashion (see The High Hidden Costs of Fast Fashion), and then later, with respect to the right to repair (see Waste Not, Want Not: Right to Repair Laws on Agenda in Some States). But the concern over plastics was further stimulated by my horror, while diving in Vietnam, seeing first-hand the scourge of plastics waste in the ocean.

So far, most of my plastics posts focus on this waste angle. The present post is a bit different, as in it I discuss a report issued this month by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about the health concerns with using plastics, particularly for children. I include a link to the full report, published in the August Pediatrics: Food Additives and Child Health (hereafter, AAP report). For those readers who lack time to read the full report, this press release summarizes its gist: American Academy of Pediatrics Says Some Common Food Additives May Pose Health Risks to Children (hereafter AAP press release.)

Currently, the United States permits the use of more than 10,000 additives in foods, for various purposes, including preserving, packaging, or making food look or taste better.  Many additives were grandfathered in for approval during the 1950s, and roughly 1,000 additives qualify for a “Generally Recognized as Safe” designation process that doesn’t require U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, according to the AAP press release. Further:

“There are critical weaknesses in the current food additives regulatory process, which doesn’t do enough to ensure all chemicals added to foods are safe enough to be part of a family’s diet,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, FAAP, an AAP Council on Environmental Health member and lead author of the policy statement. “As pediatricians, we’re especially concerned about significant gaps in data about the health effects of many of these chemicals on infants and children.”

Some additives are placed directly in foods, while other indirect additives creep in during packaging and processing. Plastics fall into the latter category.

The report identified six types of additives of most concern, based on rising research. These include bisphenols, such as BPA; phthalates; perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs); perchlorate; artificial food coolers; and nitrates/nitrates. I won’t summarize the health concerns raised by each of those categories; interested readers may find more detail either in the AAP report, or the AAP press release. But problems include abnormal brain development; obesity; autism; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; and limited muscle mass and bone strength.

I will mention, however, that the AAP notes that each category of additive poses greater health concerns for children, as they ingest more of these substances relative to their body weight than do adults, and because the impact of these substances is more harmful for  their developing and growing bodies. According to the AAP press release:

“Chemicals that affect the endocrine system, for example, can have lasting effects on a child since hormones coordinate complex functions throughout the body,” Dr. Trasande said. “Even small disruptions at key moments during development can have lifelong consequences,” he said.

Another AAP official, AAP Council on Environmental Health Chairperson Dr. Jennifer Lowry, MD, FAAP, called for retesting all additives, as existing safety data is based on outdated testing methods or animal studies. She highlighted a recent study of 4000 additives that concluded there was no research for 64% of these to support that they were safe for human consumption.

The full AAP report outlines some concerns in greater detail:

…[T]he FDA does not have authority to obtain data on or reassess the safety of chemicals already on the market. This issue is of great importance and concern for chemicals approved decades ago on the basis of limited and sometimes antiquated testing methods. For instance, some compounds, such as styrene and eugenol methyl ether, remain approved for use as flavoring agents, although they have been subsequently classified as reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens by the US National Toxicology Program.

Further compounding the problems noted above are other shortcomings within agency procedures. For example, the FDA does not regularly consider cumulative effects of food additives in the context of other chemical exposures that may affect the same biological receptor or mechanism, despite their legal requirement to do so. Synergistic effects of chemicals found in foods are also not considered. Synergistic and cumulative effects are especially important, given that multiple food contaminants, such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, perchlorate, and organophosphate pesticides, can disrupt various aspects of the thyroid hormone system. Dietary interactions may also be important, given that iodine sufficiency is essential for thyroid function.

In addition, the FDA’s toxicological testing recommendations have not been updated on the basis of new scientific information…. (citations omitted).

Time for an FDA Overhaul?

So, this means that currently, the FDA lacks regulatory authority to review existing data on additives already on the market, or to re-test their safety for human consumption. New legislation would be required to plug this gap. The AAP report includes specific recommendations for Congress and the FDA, but in the interests of keeping this post short, I’ll not discuss those here.

This defective framework is no doubt a feature, not a bug. Nonetheless, in the current political environment, I shudder to see what Congresscritters would come up with if they seriously got ‘round to overhauling the FDA’s statutory authority.

So, in the meantime, in the face of overwhelming scientific ignorance over exactly what plastics can do to growing, developing children’s bodies– not to mention their cumulative effects on those of us who’ve logged longer innings on the planet– the AAP recommends self-help measures everyone can take to limit exposure to plastics and problematic chemicals for themselves and their children. I find it shocking, sad, and pathetic that the regulatory system is so lacking, but am glad the AAP has reduced this report to simple recommendations that can reduce risks:

  • Buy and serve more fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, and fewer processed meats–especially during pregnancy.

  • Since heat can cause plastics to leak BPA and phthalates into food, avoid microwaving food or beverages (including infant formula and pumped human milk) in plastic when possible. Also try to avoid putting plastics in the dishwasher.

  • Use alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.

  • Avoid plastics with recycling codes 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene), and 7 (bisphenols) unless they are labeled as “biobased” or “greenware.”

  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after touching food and clean all fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled.

What does the FDA have to say about this report? According to USA Today:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the paper’s findings, press officer Megan McSeveney told USA TODAY. She also stressed that there is “reasonable scientific certainty” that additives “generally recognized as safe” are not harmful when used as directed. If new information indicates substances are unsafe, the FDA has the authority to change previous guidelines or require that use of a substance is reduced or prohibited.

Well, that reassurance is certainly going to help me sleep better at night.

Seriously, I’m not reassured by that advice.

Instead, let me give the last word to Scary Mommy’s recommendation in AAP Says Don’t Use The Dishwasher For Plastic Bottles And Sippy Cups:

In the meantime, parents might want to brush up on those hand-washing skills.

Actually, sounder advice for both parents and non-parents alike, is to use alternatives to plastic, such as glass and stainless steel, whenever possible. Not only is that course of action better for health, but to bring me back to where I started, it would also avoid creating more plastic waste..

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  1. Carey

    Thank you for this post, Jerri-Lynn. I think endocrine disruptors are the source of not
    just health problems for all humans, but social problems as well, and has been
    hugely under-reported, IMO.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The inside of most dish washing machines is made from some kind of hard plastic materials or maybe some steel.

      The inside of a microwave can be coated with acrylic enamel. I think acrylic is plastic.

      Basically, back to the Luddite way of life – don’t use those machines???

      1. Oregoncharles

        There are dishwashers with stainless steel interiors, which also hold up better than plastic. They’re worth looking for, though they often cost more, even used (see first sentence).

        The bad thing is, we use and reuse a lot of plastic containers, for frozen foods and leftovers. That means they’re mostly cold, and mostly polyethylene, but we also put them in the dishwasher. No kids in the house, but it looks like I’m going to have to be hand-washing them.

        I hate it when my wife turns out to be right.

      2. Guerre

        If you were allowing your food to make contact with the sides of your microwave you are using it wrong. The point is the mobility of plasticizers- small compounds added to plastics to control how brittle they are – through the larger polymer matrix that is your cup or bowl. they do not generally vapor deposit.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If they don’t vapor deposit from the four sides, do they gravity-deposit from the top (side)?

      3. Odysseus

        You will get my robot that prevents me from wasting hours of my life in pointless labor when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Just to point out that the worst offender for problematic chemical additives is pvc – thats plastic with recycling identification code 3. PVC is a very hard plastic in its raw form and needs multiple additives (in particular, phthalates) to soften it to turn it into container items. It may have changed recently (pvc isn’t as common now as it was due to very low prices for wet gas derived plastics), but you it used to be that you could usually identify a pvc bottle as it would have a large ‘dimple’ on its base with no obvious weld – this is as its usually made by extruding in one piece, unlike PE or other plastics.

    A particular thing to look out for are sodas in bottles left in the sun – there is evidence that some chemicals leach more rapidly if a bottle is left, for example in a shop window.

    PVC is also particularly bad because when burnt the ‘C’ (Chlorine) can recombine with organic compounds to form dioxins and furans.

    On the subject of phthalates – these are toxic due to their endocrine mimicking characteristics – in other words, the body thinks they are hormones. This makes them particularly problematic as a hormone mimicking chemical doesn’t necessarily obey the ‘the dose equals the poison’ rule. It is theoretically possible for a very low dose to have a bigger impact than a large dose as its more likely to fool the body into thinking its really a hormone. This makes modelling its health impact particularly difficult.

    1. DonCoyote

      Bisphenol A (BPA) has the same endrocrine mimicking issues. There’s not a tremendous amount of it in raw form out there (it’s a gateway plastic), but code 7 recycle is a clue that there may be some around.

  3. ambrit

    Plastics in microwaved environments. I shudder to think.
    In reference to microwaves in general, when in Third Grade I went on a field trip to Homestead Air Force Base, situated south of Miami, Florida. One of the ‘shows’ we got to see was the calibration of a B-52 rear aspect radar. The target was two miles away down a runway. The runway was cordoned off, we were told because the microwaves emitted by the aerial radar unit would kill anyone within a mile of the emitting unit. “The radiations will fry the brains of anyone unlucky enough to be in the microwave ‘cone’ when the radar turns on,” is how I remember the test tech telling us awed little kids. Since then, I have never trusted microwave technology.
    There does seem to be a correlation between the ubiquity of plastic packaging and juvenile rates of ‘behaviour disorders.’ Then again, what was once known as ‘being a kid’ is now a ‘treatable disorder.’ Parents are now being taken to task for not over supervising and ordering their childrens’ lives. A classic double bind.
    What could be of lasting import are the mutagenic effects of plastic and it’s byproducts. Our maps may soon enough have to resume noting in those great ’empty’ quarters of the globe that: “There be Monsters here.”

    1. Plenue

      You do realize there’s a massive difference between a military radar and a microwave oven, surely. Further, by your own reasoning, the danger is in getting hit by the microwaves. Well, you aren’t inside the oven when it’s working, so…

      1. ambrit

        The main difference that I can apprehend is one of power output. Any studies lying around about microwave power levels and biological effects? As in, how low must you go before ‘things’ balance out between induced harms and ‘normal’ rates of organic degradation? The home microwave issue is, of course, shielding. Leaving that in the hands of profit centred beings is potentially dangerous. The GM Corvair lives for net profits ‘trade off’ comes to mind.
        Dad was given an original Amana Radar Range, broken, naturally. He figured the fault out and fixed it. Mom used it for years. I have never recovered. /s

      2. JTMcPhee

        And if you buy a little field strength meter that reads in the microwave range, and run it around your microwave, you will find ‘leakage’ of microwave radiation from almost all such devices. Pick your poison as to whether the exposure is enough to sicken you, damage your eyes to the point of cataracts, stuff like that. Most people “believe” that there’s not much risk. That is a learned belief, and there are others who have done some experimentation and study who “believe” the other thing.

        There’s lots more on the subject, if one cares to research the subject,maybe on “EU microwave exposure limits.”

        1. Plenue

          Uh, have you actually read the page you linked to?


          Several countries, as well as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (ICES) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC), have set a product emission limit of 50 watts per square metre (W/m2) at any point 5 cm away from the external surfaces of the oven. In practice, emissions from modern domestic microwave ovens are substantially below this international limit, and have interlocks that prevent people being exposed to microwaves while the oven is on. Moreover, exposure decreases rapidly with distance; e.g. a person 50 cm from the oven receives about one one-hundredth of the microwave exposure of a person 5 cm away.

          These product emission limits are defined for the purpose of compliance testing, not specifically exposure protection. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) has published guidelines on exposure limits for the whole EMF part of the spectrum. Exposure guidelines in the microwave range are set at a level that prevents any known adverse health effect. Exposure limits for workers and for the general public are set well below levels where any hazardous heating occurs from microwave exposure. The emission limit for microwave ovens mentioned above is consistent with the exposure limits recommended by ICNIRP.


          Extensive research has been conducted into possible health effects of exposure to many parts of the frequency spectrum. All reviews conducted so far have indicated that exposures below the limits recommended in the ICNIRP (1998) EMF guidelines, covering the full frequency range from 0-300 GHz, do not produce any known adverse health effect. However, there are gaps in knowledge still needing to be filled before better health risk assessments can be made.

          So I’m seeing a whole lot of nothing to back up either your or ambrit’s fears. If you’re really that paranoid, just don’t stand near it when it’s running.

    2. John Zelnicker

      August 14, 2018 at 10:54 am

      “There does seem to be a correlation between the ubiquity of plastic packaging and juvenile rates of ‘behaviour disorders.’”

      Hi, ambrit. Hope you and the Mrs. are well.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there turns out to be an actual causative mechanism. The potential connection between plastics and behavior disorders has a precedent: lead-based paint.

      Following the prohibition on lead-based paint that was imposed in 1974, as well as the elimination of lead in gasoline at about the same time, some 15 to 20 years later, in the 1990’s, there was a radical decline in violent crimes committed by youngsters under the age of about 25 and this reduction has been persistent.

      I worked for a contractor for the City of Philadelphia back then going to abandoned houses owned by the city and using a blowtorch to remove cracking and peeling lead-based paint from doors and windows. They realized it might end up being a liability issue for the city at some point in the future.

      IIRC, the program was funded by the Federal government.

      Hah, fancy that.

      1. Octopii

        Good lord. Should’ve just taken the abandoned houses down. Hope your brain made it through that job okay.

      2. ambrit

        Hi John;
        Late to the party but, I know that many places require an inspection of old houses up for sale to measure for lead paint. It is something that a buyer can require a seller to remediate before the final act of sale.
        I would not be surprised in the least to see the incidence of ADD and related childhood ‘disorders’ dropping precipitously once glass is reestablished as the primary material for food and beverage containers. Ever notice that you never see beer sold in plastic bottles? (Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I see no such phenomena around the American Deep South.) My Dad wouldn’t ever drink beer from a can. He said that it ruined the taste. Drinking your beer from a longneck wasn’t just an affectation it seems.
        Have a good summer and enjoy all the rain Mobile is getting. We here in Hattiesburg are suffering through a sort of micro climate mini-drought. The big storms split and go around us three times out of four. I’ve watched it on the weather radar and it is spooky. So far I haven’t found an Indian burial ground near here, but I’m still looking.

  4. Koldmilk

    These dangers are known, for example:

    Make safe choices
    … by avoiding plastics with codes 3, 6, or 7 as much as possible, as well as generally reducing your exposure to all plastics.

    And remember that regardless of the plastic code, do not microwave foods or drinks in plastic containers, as this causes the plasticizers to break down and leach chemicals.

    It seems like the mainstream media ignores these issues and pretends that concern over plastics is only among the “health nuts”.

  5. Louis Fyne

    My cousin is a school teacher and she carries a dedicated backpack full of epipens for her kids with allergies.

    Whether plastics or air pollution or indoor pollution from carpeting/ upholstery /flooring something is out there.

    Unfortunately the science needed to untangle all the confounding variables is expensive and news finds Russia Russia Russia a bigger news story

  6. EoH

    Ah, the GRAS fudge. Applies to many of the most profitable and, in some cases, most highly subsidized products in the economy.

    In foods, sugar is GRAS, regardless of the amount consumed. A good argument for reconsidering the regulatory framework. Or we could just keep subsidizing the Ag, health insurance and health care industries that treat only symptoms of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ad nauseum, instead of its causes.

    Ditto with plastics, from micro-plastics, to leaching of endocrine-system damaging plastic components into foods, to the continent-sized garbage dumps of plastics in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Thanks for this article.

  7. Michael

    Plastics are on my NOGO list along with any canola oil, and any corn product or additive that is not organic.
    Hard to avoid.
    My wife wanted to replace a plastic spatula with another. NO! We settled on not and using an inefficient utensil to get not every last bit of hummus or whatever and wash out the rest. Have been using them for 50+ years. Like a memeber of the family.

      1. ambrit

        Alright Eight Armed One. I got it.
        We use organic expeller pressed coconut oil. It gives the nutters a nuttier flavour.

  8. Edward

    I have a concern which I have not seen raised anywhere about toxins in refrigerator air. The air in refrigerators has a chemical smell. I assume the plastic walls are leeching chemicals into the air which probably get reabsorbed by the food. I am nervous about eating refrigerator food.

    1. divadab

      Just wrap it in plastic film.

      Just kidding. Tho I think you can take these concerns too far and being concerned about “refrigerator air” is just that.

      I mean, the alternative to refrigeration is preserving foods – and in meat, this means nitrates. SO pick your poison.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Ever eat jerky? Sure, lots of the commercial product is loaded up with nitrates and nitrites, but our ancestors knew how to preserve meat without all the chemical sh!t. Not just salting and pickling, but a whole range of techniques like drying and canning (not in BPA-lined cans from China etc.) So that is kind of a false choice.

        A lot of what we mopes eat is presented to us the way it is, toxins and all, because “markets” and convenience and profit, and of course “just die.”

        And the “refrigerator air” is a real thing, due to the stuff that food gets packaged in. Glass is “inconvenient,” and any more does not have the lobby that plastics do, and the silica that would be made into glass is now going to stuff like fracking for oil. Refrigeration costs energy, uses a lot of plastics as we do it, and has resulted in CFC damage to the ozone layer. But it is a good technique for food preservation. Just cooling, like in old root cellars and such, helps.
        Something is wrong with the whole picture, if one thinks that preserving human health and the environment is any kind of worthy goal, to be placed way above profit-of-convenience…

      2. Edward

        I think the thing to do is place food that is stored in refrigerators in airtight containers. My main concern is fruits and vegetables that sit in the crisper. The air definitely has a chemical smell and I doubt it is safe. This is an example of indoor pollution such as occurs in a new car or with carpets.

  9. EoH

    Two of the best recommendations for government in the report:

    “7. The FDA should consider cumulative and mixture effects from dietary sources….”

    That would be necessary to evaluate the effects these materials cause when experienced in real life.

    8. The FDA should establish requirements for labeling of additives with limited or no toxicity data and those not reviewed for safety by the FDA.

    (Emphasis added.) There are lots of reasons materials are not tested or “reviewed for safety”. Budgetary and political constraints, and industry opposition feature prominently among them. The public should know what additives manufacturers use and which of them have not been tested, and, therefore, cannot be assumed to be safe. The public might ask manufacturers why they are using untested materials, or stop using products that contain them.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Capitalists are all about consumer choice until you want information they’d prefer to avoid disclosing prior to making your choice.

      1. EoH

        They’re generally about creating the appearance of choice around the limited number of things they sell.

        It’s an analog to the Overton Window, or the way Henry Ford once marketed the color choices for his early cars: “discuss,” or choose any color you want, as long as it’s black.

        In the case of food, chemicals, or clothes, the “choice” is what vendors have to sell. Choices for clothing material, for example, are directly related to import tariffs on cloth. Blended materials often draw lower tariffs than 100% materials.

        In the case of foods, it’s often a matter of what foodstuffs are most heavily subsidized. Sugars are highly subsidized, make cardboard taste like food, and are addictive. It’s a plentiful ingredient in every processed food.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Even “testing,” given the nearly infinite variables that should be “tested” if the precautionary principle was adhered to (burden of proof on industry to show absolute safety), doe not start to guarantee safety of “products. Here’s this, from a friend and former environmental agency colleague:

      “There is a rigorous scientific basis for the precautionary principle. I have done the calculations, and the number of cages required to test all possible combinations of no, low, medium and high doses administered to 50 male and 50 female mice in triplicate according to National Toxicology Program protocols for a one-generation cancer study increases exponentially to over 1 billion cages when N equals just ten synthetic substances, let alone the hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands of synthetic substances that are now present in our blood at ppb [parts per billion], ppt [trillion] and ppq {quadrillion] levels. That means that testing for safety is beyond the reach of sound science. Therefore, when in doubt, keep it out. That is why Congress in its great wisdom made the goal of the Clean Water Act zero discharge of any pollutant, not safe pollution, because what we don’t know we don’t know can still kill us.”

      Regulatory agencies also hold that there are “no apparent effects levels (NOAEL)” for lots of the relatively few compounds that have actually been “tested” by exposing rats or bacteria to them as single-chemical exposures. Many of the NOAEL substances have later turned out to have quite dangerous effects, especially when there are compound exposures, or exposures by for example inhaling volatilized chemicals in bathing and cooking water steams, let alone the many multiple interactions that lots of substances display when many are present in tissues, and let alone the many “normal variation” differences in the physiologies of all us humans that lead some to sicken or die from one substance or combination that is less damaging to others.

      But it all comes down to profit, and innovation (New! Improved!), and pardon the expression, “disruption,” which includes the “estrogen-disrupting substances” in plastics and pesticides and all the other sh!t that trade and profit fill the biosphere (that includes us mope humans) with. And yes, sweet smelling wood smoke from a campfire or stove has a lot of nasty chemicals in it, and our ancestors probably paid a price in morbidity and mortality for inhaling it and the weeding-out of those less “fit” to handle the exposure, over a million or so years.

      Of course, the “risk communicators” and “crisis communication professionals” who speak for the chemical manufacturers have all kinds of subtle Bernaysian ways of manipulating the conversation to obscure the basic point, that the crap in our food, air, and water instilled and infused by “progress” is killing us and making us sick…

  10. Tim

    There is plastic leaching in milk the moment it leaves a cow. Milk processing is not plastic free.
    An end user only controls how the food is served, and the damage is done by then.

  11. BenX

    I would vote to ban bottled water – it’s a scourge worse than plastic grocery bags. If only our politicians weren’t owned by big business.

    1. Yves Smith

      I agree….except I now find myself drinking bottled water because high silica waters reduce aluminum load, and improves cognitive performance in small scale studies in over half of the Alzheimer’s patients. Some MDs are recommending drinking a liter of the stuff daily. The studies were done on patients who drank a liter and a half daily over three months, so maybe that once a year would do.

      But I haven’t found a source that isn’t in plastic bottles.

      1. Antagonist Muscles

        Yves is referring to this study for aluminum and silica in drinking water and the corresponding effect on dementia.

        I didn’t read the whole study, but did the researchers correct for the wealthier French people who happen to purchase more bottled water and perhaps also have access to better doctors?

        Nobody here doubts the cognitive performance of Yves, and I seriously doubt she is at risk of Alzheimer’s disease considering her exercise routine and the mental capacity involved in writing these posts. Take a look at John Ratey’s book Spark to understand how regular exercise (physical, but also mental too) shapes the mind and forestalls various types of dementia. The brain can rewire itself even at an elderly age to stymie the onset of dementia.

        Nevertheless, I hope nobody here is drinking bottled water because the silica helps reduce aluminum toxicity. This is like people who (erroneously) drink alcohol because moderate consumption of alcohol – wine, in particular – is correlated with a lower incidence of heart disease. That correlation is probably true and verified, but that doesn’t mean one should purposely drink alcohol on account of this reason.

        On the other hand, it would seem wise if one is drinking bottled water because he is a Flint resident and does not have access to quality municipal water.

        1. Yves Smith

          No, that is NOT the study I am referring to.

          Due to the hour, I’m not tracking it down. It fairly recent and very small scale, only 15 patients. They already had moderate Alzheimers. They all drank 1.5 liters of silica water a day for 3 months. IIRC 8 or 9 showed improvement (some marked, some less), the rest no change. Given the lack of therapies that do anything to reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms, this was a striking finding.

          And I have consumed tons of soda in aluminum cans. Don’t assume that some good habits are sufficient to cancel out very germane bad habits.

        2. Antagonist Muscles

          They got me too. I was also addicted to soda and caffeine almost twenty years ago. During my addiction, my preference was always soda in aluminum cans, not plastic bottles.

          I haven’t touched a soft drink in over five years. That stuff tastes terrible now.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Since diatomaceous earth is made of silica, one wonders if there were a way to grind it up flour-fine and soak it in water for partial silica dissolving into the water, or mix/suspend it in water for drinking it so that the gi system would digest and absorb some silica from the ingested diatomaceous earth.

        ( Food-grade d.e., not pool-purifier grade d.e.)

        1. HotFlash

          Don’t know what the uptake of mineral silica would be by human metabolism. Some organic sources might provide more available silica. Oat straw, nettle and horsetail are all high in silica, can be prepared as (jointly or severally) as tea and drunk hot or cold, in smoothies, etc. This would avoid any plastic.

  12. Epistrophy

    Thank you Jerri-Lynn, this is one of my pet subjects. You wrote:

    Use alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.

    Some additional tips here for those who are interested.

    – If you drink bottled water, do not leave a plastic bottle in the car on a hot or sunny day. The heat will cause oils/chemicals to leach into the water. Of course the this could happen during shipment before you buy it – so better to drink from glass bottles if you can.

    – If you cook with stainless steel, always fill the stainless steel container with water and vigorously boil on first use. This will remove most of the surface nickel so that it cannot get into cooked food later (according to private conversations with technical experts of the Nickel Development Institute of Canada). Excess nickel in the diet can lead to skin allergies, particulary where nickel may come into contact with the skin from items such as pierced earrings, necklaces, watchbands or bracelets – causing a skin rash.

    – Cast iron pots and pans are the best for cooking, in my opinion, but one has to learn how to use them – they require extra care. The main side effect is iron in the diet, but this could be a benefit for many people.

  13. PKMKII

    Yet another argument for breastfeeding (with standard caveat that it’s not always an option for all moms and sometimes formula is necessary and no I don’t mean that I would rather see a child starve to death than drink formula).

  14. marieann

    I have been working on getting plastic out of my house for many years. In fact I’ve always hated plastic from when it first came out.
    However I do use Tupperware containers for storing large amounts of dry goods, I have not been able to find anything better. Glass would be too heavy and metal would be ridiculously expensive.

    In the kitchen I use mainly glass.

    I preach to the people I know who drink bottled water, first….don’t do it, second at least don’t drink out of the bottle….this after I watched a big sale at the grocery store where the water sat outside, in the sun on a 90 degree day.

  15. Oregoncharles

    ” These include pisphenols, such as BPA;”
    That’s “Bisphenols,” to match “BPA,” a typo that could be significant.

  16. bassmule

    From a former plastic food packaging consultant, me. Yes, I confess, I got hired by HJ Heinz to investigate plastic squeeze bottle packaging back in the ’80s. And other dastardly acts. But I’ve been out of it for a long time, and I don’t shill for any of those bastards anymore. Promise.

    Yes, PVC is nasty. Yes, polycarbonate can leach bisphenol-A.

    And yes, plastic containers made of food-grade polyethylene (high or low density) are perfectly safe. Polypropylene is safe for use with food products, too. So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, eh?

    If you’re using numbers: 2 (HDPE); 4 (LDPE); and 5 (PP) are safe for storage and the microwave. 3 (PVC) and 6 (Polystyrene) are not.

    PET (polyethylene terephthalate) can be problematic: If it isn’t washed properly, it can contain trace elements of antimony trioxide. Boiling or repeated microwave use of PET containers can promote leaching, so if you’re super-cautious, avoid it. You should know however that antimony trioxide was proven a cause of cancer only by having mice inhale the dust. So while the risk exists, it is vanishingly small.

  17. Carla

    Just heard on the radio that when you order a glass of beer in Germany, you pay a deposit for the glass, which you get back when you return the glass. They are now starting a similar program with reusable containers for take-out coffee. Maybe someday we’ll do that here?

    1. ambrit

      Snark alert.
      Get with the program Carla. We are the Plastic Empire. They follow our lead. Got it?
      Snark out.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That might work with plastic French Letters*.

      “When you bring that thing back, you get your deposit..wink wink…back.”

      And also a similar glove recycling programs for proctologists.

      *Any leaching studies done when used under heat and friction?

      And hate to say Nancy was a visionary with her ‘Just Say No.’

      1. ambrit

        Oh my, my, my… A substandard witticism, (aren’t all my ‘witticisms’ substandard after all,) popped out of my head, full grown like Athena from the brow of Jove, regarding “organo-piss-phenols.” Too much Dionysian revelry for one day. I must turn to Silenus for succour.

    3. Isotope_C14

      Hi Carla,

      The “pfland” as it is called is just 0.08 € deposit on glass or plastic bottles. Most places that put beer in a mug do not charge this. Some bars that sell bottled beer do charge the deposit with a ticket that you return at the end of the night. Most bars though do not, they expect that you have sat down and intend to leave the bottle. *Note this is in Berlin, but I’ve been elsewhere here and not seen deposits at other bars, in places like Dresden and Frankfurt.*

      They still do this in the US in OR, IA and some other places, where you have a 5 or 10 cent refund on cans, glass and plastics. In fact when I was young in the 80’s they were still re-washing 16oz bottles in the 8 pack variety. I’m not sure if Rhinelander beer in Wisconsin is still doing this, but I’d guess not.

      Here *most* of the time you can tell that the bottle has been washed, and has clear wear marks around the areas that it will be heavily used. They clearly wash it hot enough to put new labels on every time.

      The only down-side to this is once in a while if you use a metal bottle opener it sometimes cracks the lip of the bottle. They don’t last forever.

      Take care Carla!

  18. roxan

    There’s a very good book about all this called ‘Our Stolen Future: Are we Threatening our Fertility’. It’s not a new book and appears to be available as a PDF. I learned about the issue back in the 1990s when I was watching TV with a physician friend and we saw a PBS show about these chemicals. We were both horrified, and worse yet–the researchers said this had been an issue in Europe for some time (I believe it was a BBC production) but scientists had been forbidden to even broach the subject in public until then. One item I recall is they mentioned a population of fish they thought was doing OK, then discovered they were all very old and of one gender.

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