I thought I was going to do a nice little post on which plastic drinking water bottles are safe to use, and let you know about some water bottles I found that are safe (not all of them are), but now that I'm about 8 hours into researching it and I've read all about “BPA” (Bisphenol A) and other chemicals in plastics, my mind is spinning and I'm paranoid about any plastic in my life!
Instead of quoting each piece of information for you that I've read in the past couple weeks, I'll let you know my own personal conclusions and give you the best links I've found below if you want to read more, and you can take it from there.
- First, if all you want to know is what to buy, here are safe sippy cups, baby bottles, thermos', etc.
- And here are some BPA free water bottles.
First I should tell you that I'm not what you would call “green”, to say the least. My motivation in writing this blog and deciding which foods to buy for my family are mostly based on health and nutrition, although I know there are huge environmental implications as well. However, after the research I've done for this post, and information from my friends, Sonia and Bob (also known as Bob in Green Suburbia), I have started thinking more about how wasteful I can be when using disposable plates, bowls, etc. I'll try to do better, honest! (My friend Rich sent this article that touches on the various products that claim to be environmentally friendly, but actually could be worse for the planet. This is an older article, but still interesting and relevant.)
What's the big fat deal about plastic? Why should you look for BPA free water bottles?
If you're as naive as I was on the issue, don't feel bad. Who knew that drinking healthy water instead of pop might be prove to be dangerous because of the stupid plastic container we're drinking it from?! The whole thing irritates me like crazy, that we have to question everything these days!
Here are the dangers of certain plastics:
Some say we should be more concerned with the quality of the water we're drinking, as opposed to worrying so much about the plastic it's in, and I believe that's true to a point. (Read more about that here: Why we ditched reverse osmosis water and what we got instead.) And according to the FDA, all plastics are safe – that surely makes us all feel better, right? (Uh… no.) They don't always have the whole story, and that's the understatement of the century.
- When food or drink sits in a plastic container, and especially if it is heated in that container, chemicals from the plastic can “leach” into it. (Just that word sounds nasty.) With some plastics this is more of an issue after frequent washings and re-use, but with others it's a concern even when it's new.
- There have been articles in the news lately about potentially dangerous “phthalates” and “BPA” (Bisphenol A), which are estrogen-like substances that can leach from certain plastics. (More info in the links below.) These can mess with the hormones in our bodies which can lead to changes in the start of puberty, hyperactivity, low sex drive, increased fat formation, changes in reproductive cycles and structural damage to the brain – the very things we were trying to get away from by drinking hormone-free milk (or raw milk) and our higher quality healthy meats! Our bodies are super sensitive to sex hormones so even a little can disrupt things. These substances have also been linked to cancer. (Big surprise, something else is linked to cancer.)
OK, so it's easy when I'm knee-deep in all this information to be tempted to go like a madwoman through the house and toss every single piece of plastic I find, from toys to drinking bottles to storage containers and more. Instead I'll take a deep breath, make a few changes, and then hope the rest won't kill us or make my husband grow breasts or anything.
Here's my 5-part plan:
1. From now on, I will use glass, stainless steel or ceramic for drinking or food storage. I'm even going to bite the bullet and buy the stainless steel kid's cups. Our kids often don't drink every last drop of their milk at dinner, and for years we've put a lid on their cup and kept it in the fridge so they can sip on it later. Now I'll be able to keep doing that with these stainless steel cups without having to wonder what chemicals they might be ingesting. For myself and for our 8 year old, I'm going to use the pint sized glass ball jars with a plastic lid and put a straw inside to keep drinks cold in the frig that way. Oh great! I just remembered straws are made of plastic! OK fine, those are outta here, too…
2. If I must use plastic drinking cups/bottles, I will use HDPE #2 (Here's the water bottles I found a great deal on, with no shipping charges! They are wide-mouth, so they'll get clean in the dishwasher. Find more BPA free water bottles here.) HDPE is said to be safe, however I'll still avoid it if I can, because they probably just haven't found why this one is bad yet! Besides, all plastics have chemicals in them. By the way, I had a lot of Playtex sippy cups, so I called them. They said all their products are made with either #5 (Polypropylene/PP) or #2 (HDPE) and both are supposed to be safe. If you're buying new ones, though, I've read that #2 (HDPE) is better for the environment than #5 (more easily recycled) – you can find #2 in their original “Sipster” cups (I got a 2-pack at Babies-R-Us for $5.49) or their “Quick-straw cups”. (I don't recommend SIGG containers as they're made with aluminum.)
3. I don't use my microwave much anymore, but for those of you that still do, don't ever use plastic for heating or covering. As a matter of fact, you shouldn't heat plastic at all or put anything hot in plastic. ***That's the most important way to avoid plastic toxins, keep hot food or drinks away from plastic!
4. My freezer ziplocks are pretty darn convenient, so I'll continue to use those only for storing food that is not even remotely warm, and mostly for freezing. (They stack up nicely in the freezer.)
5. If I had a bottle-fed baby right now, then I'd buy glass baby bottles for sure. And if anyone has some good alternative suggestions for what babies can safely bite on instead of plastic toys, let me know. Some have suggested wooden toys, but I'm guessing those have a polyurethane coating on them that can't be healthy, either. Maybe we could find some nice, safe, glass baby toys… (Kidding)
Check out this post with the opposite point of view. Personally, I totally disagree (be sure to read the juicy comments at the bottom), but it's always good to know both sides. As always, I ask myself what makes the most sense. Plastic is made of chemicals, and it doesn't seem like a big stretch to believe that some of these nasty chemicals can leach into our food, especially if we're eating hot food in plastic. I'll continue to avoid it whenever possible, and try not freak out over the rest.
Here are the links to stainless steel kid's cups and more helpful information:
- Safe sippy cups, baby bottles, thermos, etc.– for the best deals, scroll down here to find the ones that say free shipping. (After you spend $25.)
- Find out why COCONUT OIL is SO good for you
- Read about my beloved Bosch Kitchen mixer and all the amazing things it does, for example it makes HUGE batches all at once – 6 loaves of bread! It saves so much time!
- Here's a link for some neat glass water bottles that you can personalize.
- My favorite Kitchen Gadgets
- Kelly's Popcorn with Coconut Oil recipe (MUCH better tasting than the microwave popcorn full of those weird-smelling chemical preservatives!)
- Are supplements really necessary for good health? Read my conclusions on that tricky issue
- My Dark Secrets – this comment section is still buzzing
- Healthy Milk choices – why you should never buy anything but WHOLE milk!
- Info on Glad ovenware
- Handy plastics chart for your refrigerator (OK: #1,#2,#4,#5; Avoid: #3,#6,#7)
- Reducing your risk of exposure to chemicals from plastics
- Green Guide – lists the different plastics with information about each
- “Smart Plastics Guide”
- More good reading here (including info on Tupperware) – keep in mind this site says plastics #1, #2, #4 & #5 are safER. However, I've read things questioning the safety of #1, especially if re-used, washed a lot, etc., so if I'm buying something new and if I'm able to find #2, I'll stick with that or no plastic at all, as I said above.
- Fox News article on baby bottles
- Is plastic making us fat?
- One more good article on plastics