Certain plastics are known to contain toxic chemicals which have negative impacts on human health. The primary toxic chemicals in plastics are Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates. These two toxic ingredients in plastics are of particular concern, as research increasingly shows that these chemicals mimic or suppress hormones (e.g., estrogen and testosterone) and disrupt normal development and growth. (Source)
Exposure to Phthalates occurs through the following:
Inhalation- breathing in fragrances, or fumes from solvents and fixatives
Ingestion- chewing on a plastic toy creates small openings in the plastic, providing an avenue for leaching of chemicals from the toy into a child’s mouth
Skin Absorption- lotion, perfumes, deodorants
Exposure to BPAs occurs primarily through ingestion and through direct exposure or exposure through dust particles that contain microplastics. Children are particularly vulnerable to toxic chemicals found in plastics and microplastics since their body systems and organs are still developing.
Microplastics are small particles of plastic with a diameter of less than 5mm. There are two types of microplastics. Primary microplastics are items that have intentionally been manufactured in a small size, such as microfibers from clothing, microbeads and plastic pellets.
Secondary microplastics make up the majority of microplastics waste in the environment. They are made up of fragments from larger pieces of litter such as plastic bags, bottles or packaging.
Ten Tips for Safer Use of Plastics:
Purchase baby bottles and sippy cups labeled “BPA free” or glass options.
Never heat or microwave food or drink in any plastic containers, as leaching of toxic chemicals from plastic to food or liquid may occur.
Use a paper towel instead of plastic wrap to cover food in the microwave. 4. Never heat plastic baby bottles.
When mixing formula, heat the water before mixing.
When warming breast milk, use a glass bottle.
Use PVC-free plastic wrap (buy plastic wrap and bags made with polyethylene).
Eat fresh produce - Minimize the use of canned foods and canned drinks as many are lined with BPA. 7.
Only buy “new” plastic toys for infants and toddlers that are labeled “phthalate -free” or “PVC-free” due to their mouthing behaviors.
Purchase phthalate-free beauty products.
Ask your dentist for BPA-free sealants and composite fillings.
Discard all worn or scratched plastic food containers, especially baby bottles, sippy cups and infant feeding plates and cups.