Over the past decade, we’ve seen more and more businesses looking to reduce their use of plastic. And while we’re all focused on the impact plastic can have on the environment, there are actually a number of health reasons why we need to start avoiding this material.
According to recent studies, researchers have found a direct link between the chemicals used in plastics and fertility. Some go as far to suggest that most couples will need to use some sort of IVF treatment to conceive by 2045, due to the long-term exposure to these chemicals.
These chemicals include phthalates, and in this guide, we’re going to discuss what they are, and how to avoid them.
What are phthalates?
Phthalates are a chemical that’s used to produce a number of plastic products – from food packaging to toiletries. The most common phthalate is DEHP, which is used to make plastic more flexible and durable.
How are phthalates dangerous?
When metabolized by the body, phthalates can cause a whole number of serious health issues. Everything from reduced sperm count, lower IQs in newly born children and hormone imbalances can be caused by this chemical – none of which we would want to knowingly inflict on ourselves, or our children.
How do phthalates get into the body?
As these chemicals are used in just about every kind of product you could think of, it’s incredibly easy for them to get inside the body. Phthalates can enter the body through being ingested or absorbed into the skin. They’re then metabolized by the body and excreted through urine or sweat. And while they don’t stick around long, it’s the long-term exposure to these chemicals that can cause issues.
So, washing your hands with soap containing phthalates, or buying foods encased in plastic packaging could be allowing these chemicals to get into the body on a regular basis, and ultimately putting your health at risk.
How to avoid them
Reduce plastic packaging
You limit your exposure to chemicals like phthalates by sticking to paper packaging, or plastic-free food packaging. It’s also worth buying organically produced food.
Look for phthalate-free products
Sounds straight forward, and it can be now you know what to look out for. Finding phthalate-free soaps, cleaning products and packaged foods can reduce your exposure. You can even take it one step further and opt for zero-waste stores and storing food in glass containers at home.
Don’t reheat food in plastic
Heating plastic is more likely to expel the dangerous chemicals into your kitchen. If you do fancy reheating last night’s dinner, opt for a paper or glass alternative.
Follow the bamboo craze
Nowadays, you can get everything made from bamboo: Toothbrushes, coffee cups, ear buds, etc. And while these have all been created to fight the battle against plastics across the globe, they’re also ideal for protecting yourself from these nasty chemicals.
There’s more to plastic than meets the eye. And while we all focus on the environmental impact; we need to also think about our own health that could be affected.