Is anyone else freaked out about the apparent link between Bisphenol A (BPA) and heart disease, diabetes, birth defects, learning disabilities — and who-knows-what-else?
I did some checking, called in my good friend Jill Fleming, RD MS, and have the scoop for you on what is safe and what you should throw away.
Here it is:
The problem: Plastics leach chemicals into the food and liquids stored in them. One of those chemicals, BPA, is bad, real bad. Heat and age increase the leeching.
What do you do?
Turn your water bottles and plastic containers over. Look at the number in the triangle. It’s a code and here’s what it means:
#1: Use just once. Don’t rinse and reuse a water bottle you buy at the store. Refilling or rinsing cause chemicals to be released.
#2: Whew! This one is okay. Hand wash and air dry these sport bottles. If they get scratched or start looking dull and old, replace them.
#5: Wait — do I have to throw out my Tupperware? No, you are safe. #5 plastic is good for storing solid foods. No soups or sauces. Putting hot food into the plastic container will make it release chemicals — cool the food first. Hand wash and air dry your containers, even though they may indicate “dishwasher safe.”
#7: Throw it out. Really, toss it — it contains BPA and you don’t want it. Many water cooler bottles and water filter pitchers are #7 — look carefully.
- Buy juice and milk in glass bottles whenever possible.
- Prepare foods in glass or ceramic.
- Cool solid foods completely before putting them in #5 plastic containers.
- Store liquids (including sauces and soups) in glass or ceramic containers.
- NEVER microwave plastic (including plastic wrap).
- Carry water in glass, stainless steel or BPA free bottles.
- Avoid canned food with plastic lining.
We’ve purged the plastic and have new BPA free water bottles for the whole family. It is a simple thing to do for your health and the health of your family.
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.
5 Responses to “Scary Plastics!”
That is so helpful, Eliz! I’ve heard about this, but nothing so clear. There will be major changes in my water bottle habits starting now!
Thanks for all you do!
the insulated coffee cup I drink out of every day is a #6. Can I continue using it?
Question: My Nalgene, hard plastic water bottle from REI is a #7. Should I be throwing it out?
Thanks for the questions Patricia! My girls’ new Nalgene bottles are #7 also, but it says BPA free under the 7. Nalgene changed the way they make the bottles recently. If it doesn’t indicate BPA free, I would play it safe and replace the bottle.
… hope that helps, and thanks again for your question!
Hi Phyllis, great question. So good I just wrote a quick post about it: http://embraceengage.typepad.com/ee/2008/09/a-hot-cup-ofno.html
Any heat will cause the chemicals in plastic to leach into the contents — so, no, I wouldn’t keep using the mug if I were you.
An unlined stainless steel mug or ceramic mug will be a much healthier choice.
Thanks for the question!