Plastic safety tips! Are plastics safe? How to reduce exposure to harmful carcinogens? These are just some of the questions I will be addressing in this post. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) and I am supporting the cause by writing some posts and recipes that create more awareness of Breast cancer. I have several dear friends who have braved this disease and a grand-mom who lived twenty years after a complete mastectomy so breast cancer is dear to my heart indeed!
Plastic plastic everywhere! From colorful plastic lunch boxes to plastic bags the creation of plastic in 1868 started a plastic revolution where convenience became the key! I am not bashing plastic altogether but some caution exercised in the of the use of plastics will help to minimize exposure to carcinogens and help treat the environment better!
Plastics as storage: Oh yeah those plastic tubs and containers can make even the messiest kitchen and fridge organized but beware! Unless you have BPA safe plastics, use plastics only to store dry goods, fruit, veggies, nuts and other foods that do not require heating. Once heat comes into contact with plastic it releases extra amounts of harmful chemicals called BPA ( Bis Phenol A) which has been linked to carcinogens, especially breast cancer. Example: Store salad in a pretty plastic container but not mac and cheese which needs reheating! If you have to store food that needs reheating in Tupperware or plastic, just transfer to pyrex or glass before heating! Invest in glass food storage containers for the fridge. Note this rule excludes BPA safe plastic.
Plastic film caution: Oh yes, we all love cling wrap. It keeps food tight, avoids spills and is one of the handiest kitchen storage tool. Use cling wrap for cold foods, salads etc. and never heat a dish with cling wrap either in the oven or microwave. Use paper towel in a microwave and aluminium foil in the oven. Even if the manufacturers label says slit the plastic wrap and bake etc, I just rip the plastic off and cover with foil instead. The same goes for using the microwave to defrost foods that have been wrapped in plastic. I am not sure how much heat is generated when using the defrost function but I am wary. Appling the “better to be safe than sorry” rule I defrost in the fridge or under running water and remove the plastic from the food before I defrost in the microwave. This holds good for frozen veggies in plastic bags as well. I always remove them from the bag before microwaving them.
Minimize use of water bottles: Apart from the fact that you are polluting the environment you’re not 100 percent sure how pure bottled water is. Plastic bottles have small levels of BPA in them which get intensified in heat and extreme cold temperatures. For this reason never freeze a plastic bottle or drink water out of a plastic bottle that has been out in the scorching heat to the point the water is warm/hot! You may be ingesting potentially harmful BPA! Also never re-use a plastic bottle. The more you re-use a plastic bottle, the more BPA will leach into the water. Although sporting a water bottle to the gym and when you are outdoors seems sensible, minimize use of bottled water in general. For the home invest in a filtration system or some simple filtration bottles like Bobble! I use bobble and stainless steel bottles to store filtered water. Economical and environmentally friendly these bottles and other similar filtration devices can save you some serious dollars and actually taste better. I occasionally use plastic bottles for the sheer convenience of it when I do not have access to my reusable bottle but I try to only drink filtered water at home.
Dry-clean bags outside: If you dry-clean your clothes, exercise caution and keep those plastic bags out. They have a chemical called perchloroethylene, or PERC which is a common used dry clean agent. If your clothes smell strongly of chemicals when you bring them home, it may be a sign that too much PERC was used. This chemical permeates the plastic used to cover dry cleaned clothes and when you bring it into your home it can permeate your home with potential carcinogens. Switch to home dry clean kits which use a gentler agent or whenever possible, use environmentally safer methods such as “wet cleaning,” which wash dry clean-only garments using special soap, and plain old water. You can also invest in clothes that do not need dry-cleaning or if you have to dry-clean just remove the plastic bag in the garage and air them out in the garage or outdoors for a bit before bringing them in. I do this since my husband has to have those crisp dry cleaned shirts :)!
Do you know of any other plastic safety tips ? Do share! I would like to hear from you and if you would like to read about some foods that may prevent against breast cancer, click here!